【Match Report】U-17 Japan National Team eliminated by Spain in the Round of 16 - FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023™
21 November 2023
On Monday, 20 November, the U-17 Japan National Team faced the U-17 Spain National Team in the round of 16 at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023™ at Manahan Stadium in Surakarta, Indonesia.
For this match, head coach MORIYAMA Yoshiro started with GOTO Wataru (FC Tokyo U-18) in goal and a back line consisting of SHIBATA Shotaro (Kawasaki Frontale U-18), KOSUGI Keita (Shonan Bellmare U-18), TSUCHIYA Kaito (Kawasaki Frontale U-18), and HONDA Kotaro (Shonan Bellmare U-18). YAMAMOTO Joi (Tokyo Verdy Youth), NAKAJIMA Yotaro (Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC Youth), YOSHINAGA Yumeki (Kamimura Gakuen High School), and SATO Ryunosuke (FC Tokyo) started in midfield while NAWATA Gaku (Kamimura Gakuen High School) and INOUE Alen (Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC Youth) were named as the two strikers.
Against Spain, Japan took a defensive approach but conceded the opening goal in the eighth minute when Quim JUNYENT latched onto a pass in the box and fired a shot past the Japanese goalkeeper.
Despite surrendering the lead, Japan began to build momentum from their side attacks, as coach Moriyama later reflected: "We managed to win the ball with intent and keep the ball moving in the attacking third.” In the 40th minute, Sato won the ball deep in the Spanish half and crossed for Nawata, who unleashed a superb shot that found the back of the net to bring Japan level before half-time.
In the second half, Spain dictated the pace of the game as the Japanese side, perhaps fatigued from the group stage, lost their intensity. The decisive moment came in the 74th minute when Marc GUIU responded to a through ball and fired a shot into the corner of the Japanese net to put Spain back in the driving seat.
Japan then made a series of substitutions in an attempt to fight back, but their impatience did not help their accuracy and failed to connect in front of goal. After failing to find the equaliser, the match ended 1-2, ending Japan's campaign in the round of 16.
Coach and Players' Comments
MORIYAMA Yoshiro, Head Coach
Their journey at the U-17 World Cup has come to an end, but they are now embarking on a new one that will take them out to the open sea. Despite their exhaustion, there is no doubt that the players gave their very best. I think they worked extremely hard, but at the same time they must feel that we weren't good enough, so I think it's important how they react and bounce back from this experience. I truly hope that they make the most of this experience to become better players.
DF #3 KOSUGI Keita (Shonan Bellmare U-18)
I thought that what makes the difference in the knockout stage of a World Cup is something very subtle, and I feel like this match would have been tied if I could have prevented that first goal. It was fun to play against one of the best wingers in the world and I would have loved to have played more games like that at this World Cup, but I just didn't have what it takes to make it happen. I will continue to work hard to become a better player so that I can be called up for the U-20s, the Olympics and eventually the senior national team.
MF #7 NAKAJIMA Yotaro (Sanfrecce Hiroshima FC Youth)
Despite conceding an early goal, we did well to regain possession and score the equaliser. In the second half, however, we allowed our opponents to dictate the pace and failed to create chances like we did in the first half. I hope we can improve and get our revenge against Spain in the future.
FW #14 NAWATA Gaku (Kamimura Gakuen High School)
Even though I scored, it doesn't mean anything if the team doesn't win. I am sad that we are out of the World Cup, but I am also grateful to all the people who have supported us to get to this point. So, we have to keep our chins up and keep striving for a higher level. Our footballing careers have only just begun, so we must try to make the most of this experience in the future. We will continue to work hard so that we can beat Spain next time.
FIFA U-17 World Cup Indonesia 2023™
Tournament Dates: Fri. 10 November - Sat. 2 December 2023
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