Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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A Week of Stuff, just Stuff.
Aww, You Red Devil, You!

Manchester United caught Shinji Kagawa by surprise when they suddenly announced on their site that they had pretty much reached an agreement with Kagawa. Of course, the reaction in the media both in England/Japan and around the world was immediate. Kagawa himself kept tight-lipped about the final steps to making it official by saying that because the deal was not yet fully complete, he was not comfortable making any comment on the situation. He stressed the need to focus on the week ahead and the remaining World Cup Qualifiers against Jordan and Australia. Many fans were relieved to see he was handling the situation so maturely, though it didn't stop the rest of us from going a little nuts for a while.

One such admirer put together a stylish compilation video that got a lot of recognition among Youtube users this week. (See avobe right screen)

Zaccheroni himself, commenting that he was also asked to refrain from making any lengthy statement about the big transfer, admitted that it was impossible not to say anything. He revealed that he told Kagawa "Good luck" but not "Congratulations" -- in other words, this was not the finish line but merely the starting point. Pretty apt.

Jordan Arrives in Japan

After tying Iraq at home 1-1, Jordan landed in Japan on the evening of the 5th. Jordan have always struck me as a tough team who plays with a lot of heart. Throughout the week the Japanese media never forgot to mention that Japan had yet to actually win against Jordan inside 90 minutes, and a lot of discussion revolved around why Jordan had always given us so much trouble.

Their most well-known player among Japan supporters is their goalkeeper Shafi -- burned into our memories during Asia Cup 2004 when S. Nakamura and Alex both missed their shot during the penalties. Shafi didn't actually stop the shots -- the balding patch of dirt to the right of the PK spot was the culprit. However, we do remember the huge knot of dread in our stomachs as we watched Shafi's little celebration poses.
>>Watch Asia Cup 2004: Jordan v Japan, PK Shootout

Japan at 23

Through what kind of esoteric calculations, I have no idea, Japan's FIFA Ranking bounced back up to 23 this week from the previous 30. Australia came in second in Asia with 24, and Korea is at 35.

June4BBQ.jpg June6WalkEscalator.jpg

Eat Meat and Relax

The day after the Oman game, Zaccheroni and the JFA treated the squad to a night out at a Korean Barbecue restaurant. Kengo Nakamura and Hasebe both shared this photo on their blogs -- nothing says "cool" like paper bibs at the dinner table!

Maya also posted this photo of the guys posing on an escalator during one of their walks around the hotel neighborhood. Click photos to enlarge.

If anyone wants to download this really really big group photo of this current squad, here is the link for the full size:
>>Click to go to full-size

News Video of Kagawa Transfer News (from 0:27) and National Team training footage (from 2:11)
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