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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2017 [10/10] TOP > NEWS > Halilhodzic: Winning expected even with different lineup – KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2017


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Halilhodzic: Winning expected even with different lineup – KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2017

10 October 2017

Halilhodzic: Winning expected even with different lineup – KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2017

SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) coach Vahid HALILHODZIC said, "I hope to win the match even with the different lineup," at the press conference on Monday 9 October, the day before the match against Haiti National Team in the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2017.

Halilhodzic, who has been preparing for the next year's World Cup, intends to check his players not having plenty of playing time as well as improve the team by gaining another win in the Haiti match following the win over New Zealand last week in order to carry their momentum to the upcoming training matches next month and after.

"I'm looking at the players playing inside the country," said the Japan boss. "They can do more. If they want to play in the finals, I expect them to do more of what they've done.

Newly-selected defender KURUMAYA Shintaro (Kawasaki Frontale) said "The remaining time we have with the national team is only tomorrow, so I will try to play well if I get a chance to play." Goalkeeper HIGASHIGUCHI Masaaki (Gamba Osaka) also shows his enthusiasm, "What's important is to showcase myself and capitalise on the limited chances given."

Japan do not have much information about the opponents as their last match was held in March this year. ,"They've got physical, fast players. Their FIFA Rankings of 48th place shows how high their quality is," Halilhodzic said. "Winning it will be a good preparation for the camp in November. We need a convincing win."

Defender YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC) commented, "You may end up playing a game differently from what you previously planned on a stage like the World Cup. You are required to have the ability to quickly resolve the issue on the pitch. Tomorrow will be a great test for us."

The both teams went through their tactics behind closed doors except the first 15 minutes at the match site.

After missing out the next year's World Cup, Haiti National Team just started to build up the new team for their next goals such as 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2022 World Cup. Haiti began their training in Japan on Sunday 8.

Haiti National Team coach Marc COLLAT said, "Japan are highly motivated as their players are in the middle of the competition for the World Cup squad spots. It will be a difficult game, but we will do our best and try to play well."

He seemed to be filled with deep emotions when he said that he was in charge of the youth program when Halilhodzic was playing for the Paris Saint-Germain. "I didn't expect we could see each other like this. He's become a brilliant coach," he said.

The match will kick off at Nissan Stadium in Kanagawa Prefecture at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday 10.

Coach's and Players' Comments

Vahid HALILHODZIC, Coach, Japan National Team
I am planning to give chances tomorrow to the players who don’t get to play very often. We are in the middle of our process of getting prepared for the World Cup and I want to check as many players as possible. But even though we change the line-up, we still expect ourselves to get the win. Winning tomorrow will take us even further toward the camp in November, so we need this win.

The mood among the team is better than before, and we have had good discussions during the camp. I have been able to organise my thoughts as well. I have three different game plans on my mind. I will use them according to each situation, and I am sure my players understand my intention once they see the starting line-up. But we still need more training in order to play with the perfect timing altogether whatever game plan we take. 

I feel like our World Cup has already started since the beginning of this camp. I tell my players, especially guys playing in Japan, that they can do more and I want them to do more if they want to play in the World Cup. No starting positions are guaranteed to anybody. Our concept is “Our star player is our team itself”, and I think they have soaked it in.

DF #19 SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille)
Haiti are one of the types that we haven’t often played against. This will be a valuable opportunity, so I hope everyone will be ready altogether. It’s important to stay focused especially when we start off.

DF #22 YOSHIDA Maya (Southampton FC)
This is our last opportunity to try many players, so hopefully all of us can showcase what we have. To get to the next level, we need to make adjustments when we are winning and things seem to be going well. As we get closer to the World Cup, it gets harder to make adjustments. So now is the time for us to prepare. 

DF #24 KURUMAYA Shintaro (Kawasaki Frontale)
If I get my chance to play, I want to show my plays. On this national team, I am often told to show my fighter’s attitude. Since this team have some of the players playing overseas, it’s also important for me to fit right in. So, I want to concentrate on this upcoming match. We have the J.Leaguers like Yamaguchi and Ideguchi doing well as defensive midfielders on this national team, so saying that I don’t play overseas isn’t a good excuse at all. 

MF #8 HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin)
I have no problem because I have been able to join the full practice since yesterday. It was a bit frustrating because I hadn’t been injured for a while, but at the same time it reminded me of the joy of playing football. Haiti seem to have individual strength and speed but not to be very collective. I think there are gaps we can attack. 

FW #18 ASANO Takuma (VIB Stuttgart)
I think we are expected to have decisiveness and actual timing to attack the goal. Once we can get the timing of the passer and the receiver intact, it should get better. So, I as a receiver, want to be prepared always to be able to react when a passer is ready. If I get to start the match, I want to show my speed at the right time and scare the opponents.  

Marc COLLAT, Coach, Haiti National Team
We missed our chance to play in the World Cup, and now we are at a point to rebuild our team for our future. We are planning to add young players to our experienced veterans. Our players are playing all over the world with different styles, so it’s difficult to put them together. We have spent only three days and two training sessions for this friendly match, but you never know what happens in football. We will play with pride.

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)


  • IDEGUCHI Yosuke (Gamba Osaka) Interview

  • HARAGUCHI Genki (Hertha BSC Berlin) Interview

  • ASANO Takuma (VfB Stuttgart) Interview


Sun. 1 October PM Training
Mon. 2 October PM Training
Tue. 3 October PM Training
Wed. 4 October PM Training
Thu. 5 October 17:00
Official Conference (Toyota Stadium)
Official Training (Toyota Stadium)
Fri. 6 October 2-1 KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2017
vs New Zealand (Toyota Stadium)
Sat. 7 October AM Training
Sun. 8 October PM Training
Mon. 9 October 17:00
Official Conference (Nissan Stadium)
Official Training (Nissan Stadium)
Tue. 10 October 19:30 KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2017
vs Haiti (Nissan Stadium)

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

Tue. 10 October 2017 19:30 kick off (estimated time)
SAMURAI BLUE vs Haiti National Team
Kanagawa/Nissan Stadium
TV Broadcasting. Live broadcasting across Japan by TBS Group

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