Football (Japan) Lost In Translation . . . Relaunched 2012!
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[WCQFinal] Japan 6-0 Oman @ Saitama Stadium June 8 2012
For those of you who have no access to watching Japan games, I put together a little timeline collection of videos.

Pre Pre Pre Game
Even before the team appeared on the pitch for pre-game warm-up, Yoshida and Uchida have been coming out to hang out and take in the atmosphere. Not really all that exciting, but kind of like watching pandas at the zoo. Oh, and you can also see the sprinklers going at full blast -- luckily Saitama stadium has an environmentally friendly water collection/storage/drainage system.

Pre Pre Game

The squad as they get themselves collected and pumped, waiting for that familiar Fifa anthem to herald them into the arena.

Pre Game

The Japanese national anthem.


This is the best edit of the game highlights I found -- showing how each of the chances were built from the defense-->attack.

As you can see, it was not without the usual surprises -- an early 2-0 lead by Japan by the 20th min, a red card to Jordan (which I thought was a little harsh and personally would have preferred to see a full 90 min 11-on-11 game), an injury to Yoshida (who left the team to seek treatment for a pretty bad knee injury), Hasebe with his bandaged head, a hat-trick by Honda, a first-time goal for substitute centerback Kurihara.

If the Oman game could be described in one word as Thorough, then this game against Jordan may have to be called Relentless. Aside from the first 5-10 mins of the second half, Japan were pretty much shutting down anything Jordan had to offer. It allowed Japan to control the game and keep Jordan on the back foot. Even before the Jordanians were down a player, they were struggling to get anything done going forward, and scrambling to keep track of who and where they needed to mark in defense. Despite the unbelievable scoreline at Half-time, Jordan did come back with a bounce in their step, and for the first ten minutes of the second half, really gave Japan a few scares via some strong mid-range shots and headers -- ie., playing more like we expect them to play. Japan, with the 4 goal lead had taken their foot off the gas a little, but Maeda's persistence inside the box invited a penalty, and that took a lot of the wind out of Jordan's sails.

Personal use camera technology has come a long way since the days when I had to manually wind the film to the next shot -- this footage from a video camera held by a supporter shows all six goals from the perspective of those in the stands... it's actually really very well shot given all the excitement. And you get to see a version of the game that you couldn't witness via tv broadcast!

EURO 2012 Begins

I am grateful that the Euros started right after this 6-0 Jordan game. It keeps things in perspective. Hasebe shared in his blog that he watched the opening Euro game after returning to the hotel on Friday night, and he briefly touched on the fact that these were the types of opponents that the Japan team were eventually going to have to defeat to make any mark in the world. Keeps our feet on the ground.

I am not grateful for the 3:30 a.m. game broadcast..... no... sleep.
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