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Fukushima Training Camp Day 4
Day 4

fukushima_day4_crowds.jpg

The Japan National Team Fukushima training camp is moving right along. Now after days of drills and running, the players were treated to morning and afternoon sessions spent on shots (finishing), mini-games, and going over defensive strategies.

day4_maki_komano_sign.jpg day4_koji_oguro_shake.jpg

It was a hot Sunday afternoon, and 23,000 people flooded the football complex in the hopes of being able to watch the team train. There were even more people who came, but they were disappointed at the gate as the numbers had grown beyond what was considered safe.

The presence of the huge crowds also fed the players' desire to give a little back to fans as well. The morning session was partly spent on shooting, and towards the end of the twenty minutes, we saw some playful performances from our guys. Hide Nakata started the trend by pulling off an overhead/bicycle kick, and then others followed cheekily to the pleasure of the fans watching. Topping it all off was a nice dynamic execution by Nakamura.

>>Right-click/download to watch video clip of morning shooting session

The afternoon session was spent going over very specific detailed issues in defense only. For the first time since he took over the team, Zico kept interrupting the practice games to give specific directions to the players with regard to defense. Many people have been critical of Zico for the past four years because they felt he had no strategic planning ability -- he never specifically addressed defensive issues with the team other than very basic simple rules. He used to leave all the thinking and strategizing to the players to figure out. It will be interesting to see how the players balance out what they are thinking themselves with the advice that Zico gives.

However, talk from the players is that Zico will not be introducing the more minute opponent-specific details until the team settles at their WC home camp in Bonn Germany.

>>Richt-click/download to watch afternoon practice footage

It has also been noted that the players have been using the brief time between plays to assert their opinions and discuss what strategic options are best; some players requesting others to do this or that in a given situation for smoother coverage of the opponent. With little time to prepare, communication both on and off the pitch will be valuable.

>>Click here for more photos (the thumbnails are in order from most recent at the top to oldest at the bottom)
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