U-16 Japan National Team secures spot into the FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2019 with 2-1 victory over Oman at the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018
01 October 2018
On Sunday 30 September, the U-16 Japan National Team faced the U-16 Oman National Team at the quarterfinals of the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 and won the match 2-1. As a result, Japan earned their spot into next year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru 2019.
Prior to this quarterfinal match Coach MORIYAMA Yoshiro has mentioned, “If we win, we earn a ticket to the World Cup, if we lose, we go home. This could be said for our opponents, so they will certainly come out to give their very best.” Japan had brought back YAMAUCHI Kakeru (Vissel Kobe U-18) and KONDO Kuraba (Cerezo Osaka U-18) to their starting line-up for this match, electing to go with the same line-up from the first group stage match.
It was Japan who took the initiative of the match in the early minutes, as they took control of the ball possession. In the 14th minute, NARUOKA Hikaru (Shimizu S-Pulse Youth) reacted to a loose ball and headed the ball to ARAKI Ryotaro (Higashi Fukuoka High School), who delivered a one touch pass into the space behind the opposing defence line. Forward NISHIKAWA Jun (Toko Gakuen High School) timed his run perfectly to strike a shot, which was initially blocked by the goalkeeper, but the deflection bounced off an opposing defender and went into the goal.
Despite conceding the goal in an unfortunate own goal, Oman kept their intensity high. In the 21st minute, they penetrated Japan’s left flank before sending a cross towards the centre, which they converted with a header to level the match. The match saw multiple opportunities for both sides in the remaining minutes of the first half, but neither side managed to score the go-ahead goal, as the match entered halftime with a even score.
During halftime, the Japanese players told each other to stay aggressive, and they did just that in the second half. In the 46th minute, Naruoka fired a right footed volley, Kondo followed a minute later with his right footed shot, while Nishikawa made attempts on the 54th and 59th minute. All of which came close to capturing the opposing goal, but their efforts were erased by the superb saves made by the Omani goalkeeper. More opportunities were created, but they came short from breaking the goal line.
Tournament regulation rules that there will be no extra times played and the match will enter penalty kicks if it ends in a tie score. In efforts to avoid that scenario, Japan brought in their attacking players as substitutes to finish off the match within regulation time. And their moment came in the 81st minute, when the substituted forward TOYAMA Shoji (Gamba Osaka Youth) capitalised on the driven cross delivered by Nishikawa from the left side to score the long-awaited go-ahead goal for Japan. The goal came in a play the team had been working on for countless times in training session.
Led by HANDA Riku (Montedio Yamagata Youth), the Japanese defence line managed to sustain the lead until the final whistle. Coach Moriyama simply stated, “I am very happy,” as the team earned their spot into the FIFA U-17 World Cup for the second straight attempt.
However, it is not all over for the Japanese squad as Handa pointed out, “Our goal is to become the Asian Champions.” The competition for the Asian title will continue on as Japan will play in the semi-final match on Thursday 4 October with a 17:30 kick-off time (Japan time).
Coach and Players' Comments
MORIYAMA Yoshiro, Coach (U-16 Japan National Team)
Ever since I was assigned to coach the team this year, we trained and prepared ourselves to win this match. That is why this victory is so special. From here on we will continue to rotate our players to fight through this competition. I will like to give playing time for those players who sat on the bench, eagerly waiting for their opportunity, and those who came off the bench to change the dynamics of the match today. As a team, we have been sharing the same goal to become the Asian Champions, so we will continue to strive to achieve that goal.
DF #3HANDA Riku (Montedio Yamagata Youth)
We have managed to enter the match with a positive atmosphere from our warm-ups. The attacks initiated by the Oman side carried great intensity, but we conceded the goal from a turnover we shouldn’t have made. If the defenders including myself could have been more vocal, we may perhaps could have avoided conceding that goal. We will reset our minds and prepare ourselves ahead of our next match to take down the title.
FW #10NISHIKAWA Jun (Toko Gakuen High School)
My body felt very light today. It could have been a result of the adrenalin kicking in for this big match, but at the same time I have managed to prepare myself well on the day before, so I think that had helped my performance today. As we spend more time together, our team has seen great improvements as a team. I am proud of the results we have been accomplishing and I am grateful for these great learning experiences.
FW #20TOYAMA Shoji (Gamba Osaka Youth)
I was anticipating for my opportunity to enter the match as a substitute, so I was well prepared. I usually don’t get nervous in these situations, but today I was very nervous. I haven’t been able to convert the chances I was given, so I felt very relieved when I managed to score the goal at the end. In the goal scene, I was able to attack the space in front of the goalkeeper, just like we have practiced in our training sessions.
|AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018|
|Thu. 20 September||5-2||1st Group stage match vs U-16 Thailand
(UM Arena Stadium)
|Fri. 21 September||AM||Training|
|Sat. 22 September||PM||Training|
|Sun. 23 September||0-0||2nd Group stage match vs U-16 Tajikistan
(UM Arena Stadium)
|Mon. 24 September||AM||Training|
|Tue. 25 September||PM||Training|
|Thu. 27 September||2-0||3rd Group stage match vs U-16 Malaysia
(National Stadium Bukit Jalil)
|Fri. 28 September||PM||Training|
|Sat. 29 September||PM||Training|
|Sun. 30 September||2-1||Quarterfinals vs U-16 Oman
(National Stadium Bukit Jalil)
|Mon. 1 October||AM||Training|
|Tue. 2 October||AM||Training|
|Wed. 3 October||PM||Training|
|Thu. 4 October||16:30||Semi-finals (National Stadium Bukit Jalil)|
|Fri. 5 October||AM||Training|
|Sat. 6 October||PM||Training|
|Sun. 7 October||20:45||Final (National Stadium Bukit Jalil)|
*The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.
AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018
Tournament Dates: Thu. 20 September - Sun. 7 October
Semi-finals vs the winner of the match between Indonesia and Australia
Thu. 4 October 2018 Kick-off time 17:30 (Japan time)
Live broadcast at tv asahi CS ch2
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