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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > ASIAN QUALIFIERS - ROAD TO RUSSIA [9/5] TOP > NEWS > Halilhodzic: Going out to win with courage – Australia clash in World Cup Final Qualifiers


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Halilhodzic: Going out to win with courage – Australia clash in World Cup Final Qualifiers

31 August 2017

Halilhodzic: Going out to win with courage – Australia clash in World Cup Final Qualifiers

SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) coach Vahid HALILHODZIC expressed his determination at the official press conference held at the match site of Saitama Stadium 2002 on Wednesday 30 August ahead of the match against Australia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers Final Round, saying "We are going out to win with determination and courage."

In the final qualifying round, Japan are currently top of Group B with 17 points, a point clear of third-placed Australia and Saudi Arabia, who lost to the United Arab Emirates (now only one match remaining) on Tuesday. With a win over Australia, Japan will secure the first place and seal their sixth, sixth straight overall, World Cup berth. In the case of a draw, Japan can grab the ticket with a win or a draw against Saudi Arabia on the road on Tuesday 5 September.

"There is a good atmosphere in the team, and the players understand it is a very important match to qualify for the World Cup," says Halilhodzic. "I expect them to go out with a sense of responsibility."

When asked about the result of the Saudi Arabia - UAE match, the Japan boss added with confidence. "It may be a positive result, but our situation and determination won't change. What I need is 11 Samurais. I will go out to win with the players."

Meanwhile, Australia are also in a situation where they can qualify with a win over Japan. "We are ready for the important match," says Australia coach Ange POSTECOGLO. "The team are growing, and I believe we are good enough to win it."

After a 1-1 draw with Japan in the final qualifiers last October in Melbourne, Pestecoglo newly introduced a three-back system in the FIFA Confederations Cup in June. Even without earning a win, Socceroos became more confident after two draws and one loss against continental champions including Germany and Chile.

Halilhodzic emphasised that he already analysed his opponents in detail. "In terms of experience and game-controlling skill, Australia could be better than us," he warns. "But we have enough quality to cause a damage on them, and we will play solidly using our firepower to win it,"

The team went through their tactics behind closed doors except the first 15 minutes in an official training session at the stadium in an occasional heavy rain.

Defender SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille) says, "Details will decide the result of the match. The last one push is important both in offence and defence. Forward OSAKO Yuya (1. FC KOLN) also says, "If we play as usual, the result follows. It's important to believe in ourselves."

Midfielder HASEBE Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt) says, "The (injured) knee has no problem. We have a lot of experienced players, so they give us composure. I feel everyone is trying to play 'for the team,' which is Japan's strength. All we need is trust each other while playing."

The match will kick off at Saitama Stadium 2002 at 7:35 p.m.

Coaches' and Players' Comments

Vahid HALILHODZIC, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
We respect the defending Asia champions, but in tomorrow’s match, we are going out to win. We are going out to win with determination and courage. We studied Australia to great details. The loss of Saudi Arabia may be a positive result for both Australia and us, but our situation and determination won't change. Tomorrow we want to grab a win that we were desperate for but couldn’t grab against Iraq. What I need is 11 Samurais. It’s a very big challenge and important match also for all the fans supporting the national team. Tomorrow is a good chance where we can’t afford to fail. I will go out to win with the players. Aller! Nippon!

DF SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille)
We all know that it’s a very important match. The only way to minimise the opponents’ chance to score at their set-pieces is to make it difficult for them to operate and head till the last touch. It’s important to keep every opponent checked and stay away from creating critical moments. I want to celebrate with all the people at the stadium in the end.

MF HASEBE Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt)
There is a mood within the team where we want to win here and celebrate all together. All the experiences we have had are helping us to be unaffected by the pressure. Feeling the pressure too much is not good, and all we have to do is to do the best preparation possible. The injury was very tough, but the match on 31 August has always been on my mind. I have a very strong feeling toward the match tomorrow.

MF INUI Takashi (SD Eibar)
In the previous final qualifiers, I was on the squad but I didn’t get to play. So this time I really want to do something for the team on the pitch. I want to keep myself ready so that I can create good results when I get called. I also want to play to help other players perform well by keeping their strength in mind.

FW OSAKO Yuya (1.FC Koeln)
I am in good shape. It means a lot to be invited to the team for such important matches and also there is responsibility attached. I feel the pressure, but even with that I am in good shape. I couldn’t do anything in the last Cup in Brazil, so this is a pay-back time for me. I am a forward, so more than anything I want to score and show my willingness to fight up front.

FW KUBO Yuya (KAA Gent)
I have been able to get myself ready, so what we have to do is to make sure to play well as a team. Scoring a goal at a big moment is something, so I want to keep aiming at it. But the team’s win is more important. I want to help our team win by doing everything I can do.

Ange POSTECOGLOU, Coach, Australia National Team
We have respect to Japan, and I think they do, too, to us. Every time we play Japan, it’s very close. And tomorrow’s match has a lot at stake, so it will be a tight match as well. We have built a team that can play well at the World Cup, and I think we can prove that if we can beat Japan in Japan.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

Wed. 30 August Training

Australia Training, Official Conference

  • HASEBE Makoto (Eintracht Frankfurt) Interview

  • OSAKO Yuya (1.FC Koeln) Interview

  • KUBO Yuya (KAA Gent) Interview


Sun. 27 August PM Training 
Mon. 28 August PM Training *closed‐door
Tue. 29 August PM Training *closed‐door
Wed. 30 August PM Official Conference, Official Training *closed‐door
Thu. 31 August 19:35 ASIAN QUALIFIERS (Road to Russia)
vs Australia National Team
(Saitama Stadium 2002)
Fri. 1 September AM Training 
Sat. 2 September PM Training 
Sun. 3 September PM Training *closed‐door
Mon. 4 September TBC Official Conference, Official Training *closed‐door
Tue. 5 September 20:30 ASIAN QUALIFIERS (Road to Russia)
vs Saudi Arabia National Team
(King Abdullah Sports City)

* The schedule is subject to change due to the team condition, the weather, etc.


2017-8-31 (Thu.) 19:35 kick off (estimated time)
SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) vs Australia National Team
Saitama/Saitama Stadium 2002
Live on TV Asahi group and NHK-BS1 at 6:30 p.m.

More Information

2017-9-5 (Thu.) 20:30 kick off (estimated time)
[JST 26:30 kick off (estimated time)]
Saudi Arabia National Team vs SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
Saudi Arabia/King Abdullah Sports City
Live on TV Asahi group and NHK-BS1

More Information

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