【Match Report】Japan Futsal National Team defeat AFC rivals Saudi Arabia to reach NFDF Futsal Championship Pattaya Thailand 2023 Final
06 March 2023
NFDF Futsal Championship Pattaya Thailand 2023
Sun. 5 March 2023, 20:15 (local time)
Match duration 40mins (20ｘ2 Playing-time)
Eastern National Sports Training Center (Pattaya, Thailand)
Japan Futsal National Team 1-0 (0-0, 1-0) Saudi Arabia Futsal National Team
28' HENMI Katsutoshi Rafael
GK: KUROMOTO Guilherme
FP: MIZUTANI Soma, OLIVEIRA Arthur, HIRATA Neto Antonio Massanori, HENMI Katsutoshi Rafael
GK: TABUCHI Hiroshi
FP: ISHIDA Kentaro, YAMADA Kaito, KANAZAWA Sora, TSUTSUMI Yuta, SHIMIZU Kazuya, HARADA Kokoro, MORI Gensuke, NAKAMURA Mitsuru
On Sunday 5 March, the Japan Futsal National Team faced the Saudi Arabia Futsal National Team in the semi-finals of the NSDF Futsal Championship 2023 held in Thailand, where they advanced to the final with a 1-0 victory, thanks to the goal of HENMI Katsutoshi Rafael.
Facing Saudi Arabia, who they lost to in the AFC Futsal Asian Cup™ Kuwait 2022, Head Coach KOGURE Kenichiro gave a pep-talk before sending off his players, saying, “It is important that each and every one of you display your absolute best performance. As long as you play for the national team, it doesn’t matter whether it is an official tournament or a friendly. The national team must deliver results in a short preparation period. Let’s win today and earn the right to play the final against Iran.”
Japan, who started with the same lineup as their previous two matches, showed great aggression from the outset, as HIRATA Neto Antonio Massanori fired the first shot of the match. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia showed excellent composure in defence as they looked for their chances to counter, much like how they played against Japan in the Asian Cup. Many of the opportunities created by Japan were stopped by the Saudi goalie, while NAKAMURA Mitsuru's well-struck volley at the end of the first period was denied by the woodwork.
Following a scoreless first period, Japan continued to dominate the ball possession in the second period. Henmi came close to scoring the opening goal when he won the ball deep in the opposing end but failed to hit the target. The team’s youngest player, HARADA Kokoro, also made number of attempts to enter the final third but fell short from finding the back of the net. A crucial moment arrived for Japan when Harada was fouled in the defensive end. After coach Kogure requested the play to be reviewed by Video Support (VS), a red card was shown to the Saudi player. With a numerical advantage, Japan broke the deadlock in the 27th minute, when Henmi struck a shot that ricocheted off the goalie’s hand before finding the back of the net. In efforts to rally back, Saudi Arabia initiated their powerplay in the closing minutes, but Japan managed to hold onto their lead to advance to the final.
The Japan Futsal National Team will now face Iran, who have shown their dominance throughout this tournament.
Coach and Players' Comments
KOGURE Kenichiro, Head Coach (Japan Futsal National Team)
We were able to obtain this victory by controlling the game for 40 minutes. We feel very fortunate to be able to face Iran in the final again. We will prepare ourselves well and try to finish this tour on a high note, so please continue to support us.
GK #2 KUROMOTO Guilherme (Tachikawa Athletic FC)
I am glad we were able to reach the final, especially after losing to Saudi Arabia in the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup. Our goal is to win the title, so we will continue to give our all at the final.
FP #9 HIRATA Neto Antonio Massanori (Nagoya Oceans)
We were able to create the most opportunities out of the three matches played so far but were only able to score one goal. However, the fact that we managed to keep a clean sheet gives us great confidence defensively. We hope to prepare ourselves well and showcase our best performance at the final.
FP #10 HENMI Katsutoshi Rafael (Real Betis/Spain)
We were able to earn a crucial and invaluable victory today. I am delighted that I was able to score a goal that helped the team earn this victory. The final is in two days, so we will do our best to recover and prepare for our match against Iran. We are here to win this tournament, so please continue to support us.
FP #12 HARADA Kokoro (FC Barcelona B/Spain)
It was a very difficult match, but I am glad that we were
It was a very difficult match, but we are very happy to have reached the final. We were up against Saudi Arabia, whom we lost to in the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup. We couldn’t play the way we wanted and struggled to score goals, but we were able to win because everyone stayed focused and fought until the end. I didn't have a chance to play in the Asian Cup, and I remember finishing the tournament feeling very disappointed, so I entered this match determined to earn results. Although I wasn’t able to earn the kind of results I was hoping for, I am glad the team won. We will now face Iran. I will do my best to reset my mind so please cheer us on.
NFDF Futsal Championship Pattaya Thailand 2023
Tournament Date: Wed. 1 - Tue. 7 March 2023
Venue: Eastern National Sports Training Center (Pattaya, Thailand)
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