U-20 Japan National Team to face Saudi Arabia with knockout stage berth at stake - AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023
09 March 2023
Following their 3-0 victory over Kyrgyz Republic on Monday, the U-20 Japan National Team held a training session on Wednesday 8 March, one day ahead of their third group stage match of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023 against Saudi Arabia.
On this day, the team meticulously went over their tactics behind closed doors, as they had not yet secured their spot in the knockout stage, despite winning back-to-back matches in the group.
“We need to enter the match strong,” said Head Coach TOGASHI Koichi, who assessed his team’s situation as follows, “There have been teams that were eliminated at the group stage after winning two matches. We have simulated every possibility and are aware that we could still be eliminated. We need to look ahead, but also concentrate on the game in front of us.”
“Saudi Arabia need to win against Japan in order to keep their knockout stage hopes alive. We expect them to come out aggressively,” said coach Togashi, before adding, “We are going to be facing a different opponent at a different stadium. Instead of focusing on the things we can’t change, we want to spend our energy on the things we can.”
The U-20 Japan National Team will play their third group stage match of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023 against the U-20 Saudi Arabia National Team on Thursday 9 March.
GK #12 HARUNA Ryusei (Mito HollyHock)
With this being our third group stage match, we are getting more and more fatigued, but we will continue to fight together and strive for victory, because we have not yet clinched our spot in the knockout stage. Saudi Arabia is probably the strongest team in our group, so it will not be an easy match, but I will give my all to help Japan move onto the world stage as the number one team in Asian.
DF #13 SUWAMA Kosei (University of Tsukuba)
Tomorrow's match against Saudi Arabia is a crucial game for us to reach the knockout stage. Although Saudi Arabia lost 0-2 to China PR in their previous match, they are still a very good team that will present us with a great challenge. We fought together as a team and managed to accumulate six points. We will play with confidence and stive to advance through the group stage with another victory.
MF #17 KUMATORIYA Issei (Meiji University)
We know exactly what we need to do as a team, so it's important that we prepare well and play with confidence. We need to focus not to concede first and fight as a team to win the match.
AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023
Tournament Dates: Wed. 1 - Sat. 18 March 2023
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