Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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Pre-Game Therapy
The team has been training in Saitama prefecture this week, preparing for tomorrow's WC Qualifier match against Bahrain. Yesterday, the team was able to get together with a high school football team to do a little practice game. This is it, the big one. I thought a therapeutic pre-game overview would help keep my mind focused til tomorrow. The sorry-looking visual aid to the left is my humble attempt to illustrate the starting lineup and formation... (Click the image to see the larger version so you can actually read the names!)

The biggest difference of course between this lineup and the one from the Iran game last week is obviously the switch back to the 3-5-2 system (from 4-4-2). The roster is also very familiar, with leftwing Santos and right defender Tanaka back in. Forward Suzuki is also expected to pair up with Takahara up front after injury. I am not surprised by the return to the 3-back -- the players had discussed the system issues amongst themselves, and they shared their views with Zico. I'm happy with the switch back -- not for any strategic reason. This team's golden rule is "balance", and the team maintains stability with the 3-back. Also, the comfort/confidence factor that the team has with the 3-back is significant going into such an important game.

The Aim of the Midfield
Ono collected his second yellow in the last game and has returned to Feyenoord today (though he had asked to remain to support the team). I know that Fukunishi and Inamoto are competing for the same position, and Ono and Endo are more or less considered similarly positioned. With Nakamura taking the only offensive midfield position available, there was also a question of what would happen to Hide Nakata. Well, Zico answered both questions by putting Hide in Ono's place, but putting him not completely in the "defensive" zone. If you look at the diagram, you'll see he is placed in between Fukunishi and Nakamura. In other words, he will be looked upon to play a more direct role in offensive plays. Nakamura will be vigorously marked. So the two tall/strong forwards (Takahara and Suzuki) will aim to hold the ball and allow the midfield and sides to rise up and move into better position. From there, faster and more accurate offensive plays can be created. Since it is expected that Bahrain will pack their players in front of their goal, one can't expect the forwads to create goals on their own with the numerical disadvantage.

This is a must-win game for Japan, and there is a lot of pressure on the team to succeed. The team has had a tough week, with over 24 hours of travel, changing systems, injuries, jet lag and so on. But psychologically they are a strong and mature team, and with their ability to communicate and think amongst themselves (and the freedom to do so) I am optimistic about tomorrow's game. If you have a moment or two around 7 pm Friday night (Japan time), please send some good energy our way! Our spirit is with You, Nippon.

[japan football soccer world cup qualifier]
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。