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HOME > National Teams > U-16 2024 > NEWS > 【Match Report】U-16 Japan National Team open tournament with 6-0 victory over Ukraine - U-16 International Dream Cup 2024 JAPAN


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【Match Report】U-16 Japan National Team open tournament with 6-0 victory over Ukraine - U-16 International Dream Cup 2024 JAPAN

20 June 2024

【Match Report】U-16 Japan National Team open tournament with 6-0 victory over Ukraine - U-16 International Dream Cup 2024 JAPAN

The U-16 International Dream Cup 2024 JAPAN kicked off on Wednesday 19 June at J-Village Stadium in Fukushima Prefecture. In their first match of the tournament, U-16 Japan National Team, chasing a fourth successive title, got off to a flying start with a 6-0 win over U-16 Ukraine National Team.

U-16 Japan National Team 6-0 (2-0, 4-0) U-16 Ukraine National Team

Head coach HIROYAMA Nozomi has set out his theme for the tournament on home soil: "I want this to be an opportunity for us to focus on winning and have a winner's mentality. The team will be looking to overcome the pressure of being the host nation and win the tournament, which will be the culmination of the team's efforts to strengthen themselves through a series of overseas tours around the world.

The match began with Japan taking the initiative. Against a Ukrainian side who tried to set up their attacks by passing the ball from their goalkeeper, Japan applied aggressive pressure from the front, resulting in a corner kick from KOBAYASHI Shimon (Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC Youth) that was converted by KASAI Mibuki (Shonan Bellmare U-18) in the ninth minute.

With the momentum on their side, Japan continued to create chances, with USUI Tsubasa (Urawa Red Diamonds Youth) and TAKEMOTO Shohei (Avispa Fukuoka U-18) breaking down the flanks but couldn't quite find the back of the net.

Japan's second goal came on the stroke of half-time when KANDA Taito (Omiya Ardija U18) ran into the box after passing the ball to FUKUOKA Yuwa (Kashima Antlers Youth), as the midfielder later reflected: "I was determined to go in because I knew it was probably the last play of the half." YOSHIDA Minato (Kashima Antlers Youth) delivered the final pass and Kanda calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to double Japan's lead.

Japan dominated the second half against Ukraine, with head coach Yurii MOROZ admitting that their unfamiliarity with the long journey caused them "physical problems". Led by Yoshida's 69th-minute header, Japan went on a scoring spree, with OKUDA Yuma (Kawasaki Frontale U-18), FUJII Shota (Yokohama F.Marinos Youth) and ASADA Hiroto (Yokohama F.Marinos Youth) adding to their tally in a 6-0 rout.

After the match, coach Hiroyama was full of praise for his players, but stressed that "today was not our best performance" as the team quickly turned their attention to how they could improve ahead of their next game.

Japan will now take on Venezuela, who also won their first match against Senegal, at J-Village Stadium on Friday 21 June.

Coach and Players' Comments

HIROYAMA Nozomi, Head Coach
Our fourth-place finish at the Montaigu Tournament in April gave us the opportunity to progress to the next stage, and to seize that opportunity we are focused on winning every game in this tournament. We have conceded a lot of goals in competitions since the start of the year, but I think the players have changed their mindset a lot and it has paid off. In terms of understanding football, we are also working on using the SAMURAI BLUE players as role models, so that the players can choose to play in a way that their opponents would not want them to.

DF #15 YOKOI Yuya (Gamba Osaka Youth)
Having been appointed the game captain, I made a conscious effort to show my leadership and lead the team to victory. We are grateful to be playing in such a tournament in Japan and we are determined to win, knowing that Japan have won this tournament three times in a row. We have been working on our defence against crosses in training and I personally want to take what I have learnt here and use it to improve when I return to my club.

MF #14 KANDA Taito (Omiya Ardija U18)
We knew our opponents would run out of gas if we kept moving the ball around and although we struggled at times in the first half, I thought we executed our game plan well in the second half. I try to be a player who can score goals, so even though I had the option of playing the ball wide, I decided to go inside when I scored. I was able to keep the goalkeeper in sight, which allowed me to change my decision and hit the ball towards the near post instead of the far post.

FW #9 KASAI Mibuki (Shonan Bellmare U-18)
The goal came from a corner kick that we had worked on in training the day before and all I had to do was make good contact with the ball. I am really grateful to have been selected despite not scoring in my last six games, and I am very happy to have found the net in this game. I feel that my goal gave the team a boost and I hope to become a player who can change the dynamic of the game. I also feel that I was able to show my strengths in this game.

U-16 International Dream Cup 2024 JAPAN

Tournament dates: Wed. 19 June - Sun. 23 June 2024
Participating teams: Japan, Senegal, Venezuela, Ukraine
Venue: J-Village Stadium, Fukushima [Free admission to all matches]
Tournament information

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