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HOME > SAMURAI BLUE > NEWS > 【Match Report】Goals from Nakamura, Ogawa and Doan help SAMURAI BLUE to victory over Myanmar


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【Match Report】Goals from Nakamura, Ogawa and Doan help SAMURAI BLUE to victory over Myanmar

07 June 2024

【Match Report】Goals from Nakamura, Ogawa and Doan help SAMURAI BLUE to victory over Myanmar

On Thursday 6 June, SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) faced Myanmar in a FIFA World Cup 26™ / AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ Preliminary Joint Qualification match at Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, Myanmar.

Japan had already secured a top-two finish in their group and a place in the third round of qualifying with an away win by default over Korea DPR in March. With this in mind, head coach MORIYASU Hajime opted to field a back-three formation for the first time since the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

MAEKAWA Daiya (Vissel Kobe) started in goal with a backline of HASHIOKA Daiki (Luton Town FC), TANIGUCHI Shogo (Al-Rayyan SC) and ITO Hiroki (VfB Stuttgart). MORITA Hidemasa (Sporting CP) and HATATE Reo (Celtic FC) anchored the midfield, while NAKAMURA Keito (Stade de Reims) and SUGAWARA Yukinari (AZ Alkmaar) were deployed on the flanks. KAMADA Daichi (SS Lazio) and DOAN Ritsu (SC Freiburg) were the two midfielders positioned under lone striker OGAWA Koki (NEC Nijmegen).

Japan broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when Morita launched a counterattack after winning possession in his own half. Short passes saw Morita, Hatate and Kamada link up before Kamada played a diagonal ball through to Nakamura, who broke down the left and cut inside the box before calmly slotting the ball into the net.

The second goal came in the 34th minute when Nakamura's pass found Kamada, who made a quick turn inside the box before unleashing a shot. Although the shot was saved by the woodwork, Doan was on hand to pounce on the rebound and give Japan a 2-0 lead at half-time.

The two-goal cushion allowed Japan to make changes at the interval, with coach Moriyasu replacing Doan to hand SUZUKI Yuito (Brondby IF) his first cap, while KAWAMURA Takumu (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) also came off the bench in place of Hatate.

With the team making slight adjustments in the second half, MAEDA Daizen (Celtic FC) and SOMA Yuki (Casa Pia AC) were introduced in the 62nd minute in place of Kamada and Sugawara.

While the score remained 2-0 for some time, Japan grabbed their third goal in the 75th minute when Ogawa converted Soma’s cross with a towering header. The striker then added his second goal of the match in the 83rd minute, capitalising on a deflection from an opposing defender in the box to further extend his side's lead.

Nakamura, who had scored the team's first goal, capped the match with a spectacular strike from outside the area in additional time to give Japan a 5-0 away win.

As a result, Japan have now won five consecutive group matches to take their tally to 15 points and advance to the third round as leaders of Group B. DPR Korea beat Syria 1-0 on neutral ground in Laos to take their tally to six points, leaving them in third place but with hopes of qualifying depending on the result of the final match. Myanmar remained fourth with one draw and four defeats and were eliminated.

Japan's next game is a home match against Syria at Edion Peace Wing Hiroshima on Tuesday 11 June.

Coach and Players' Comments

MORIYASU Hajime, Head Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
I decided to play with a back-three formation today because I think it is in our best interest to be flexible and play with a back-four or a back-three depending on the opponent and the situation of the game. Offensively, I thought we were able to control the game with our back-three and use the width of the pitch to get behind their defensive line. Defensively we were well balanced and kept their attacks at bay to finish the game with a clean sheet. The formation itself may not have been the reason for this win, but the fact that the players showed their ability to cope with a short preparation period and play a solid game without conceding a goal gives us confidence that this could be an option for the future.

DF #3 TANIGUCHI Shogo (Al-Rayyan SC/Qatar)
I wasn't sure whether it was better to play like a back-four or a back-three, so I made a conscious effort to adjust my position depending on how our opponents approached us. Hashioka struggled to get forward in the first half, so I made an adjustment at half-time to play more centrally, which allowed him to get forward more in the second half. It was great that we were able to make adjustments on the pitch as the game went on. The fact that we were able to demonstrate some of the things we have been working on in training, such as ball movement and positioning, is a positive thing to take away from this game.

MF/FW #10 DOAN Ritsu (SC Freiburg/Germany)
It was a tap-in goal, but I had to be there to score, so I will gladly take it. I think the team can do better, but given the circumstances, the state of the pitch and everything else, we are happy with the result. An attacking player, Nakamura has been trying new things as a left wing-back. I told him before the game that there was a lot of goalscoring potential in that position and I think he really showed his character today. Playing three at the back allows us to play attacking players on the flanks, and I personally can play in that position as well, so we will continue to communicate with each other to improve this formation and make it a fun option for future games.

MF/FW #13 NAKAMURA Keito (Stade de Reims/France)
When I scored the first goal, I saw an open space when Hatate had the ball, so I sprinted towards it as soon as Kamada received the ball. I was wide open and had a good angle when I received the ball, so I didn't hesitate to shoot. The second goal was also from an area I was confidence in, so I was happy to make the most of the opportunity. I played more as a winger than a full-back when our team was attacking. I also played out wide in France. The Asian Cup really taught me that I can't be one-dimensional and that's something I've been trying to improve on in the last six months. I feel I have improved a lot, and I am happy to show it today. The French league is a competitive league with a lot of individual talent, and it has really allowed me to grow as a player.

MF/FW #15 KAMADA Daichi (SS Lazio/Italy)
I was playing in a position I had played for my club, so I felt quite comfortable despite the slight difference in tactics. We knew we would be in control of the ball possession, so I talked to Hatate before the game about how we could switch positions. I think we played well, but it was very difficult to play in this hot weather. As an attacking player, I am expected to score or assist goals. Although I didn't score, I think I was involved in a lot of our chances, so I'm happy with my performance.

MF/FW #19 OGAWA Koki (NEC Nijmegen/Netherlands)
I think I was able to showcase a lot of the physical plays I've been doing all year in the Netherlands, like shielding off opponents to create chances for my teammates. The last assist to Nakamura was a good example of that, and I am more proud of that play than the goals I scored. Coach Moriyasu has instructed me to stay inside the box so that I can score goals when the team needs me the most and also to create chances for my teammates by winning the ball in front of the goal. We have a lot of talented midfielders, so I was always thinking of ways to allow them to receive the ball facing the goal, which is something I feel I did a good job of.

FIFA World Cup 26™ / AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027™ Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2

Fixture: SAMURAI BLUE vs Myanmar National Team
Date: Thu. 6 June 2024, 18:40 (21:10 Japan time)
Venue: Thuwunna Stadium (Yangon, Myanmar)
Tournament information

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