【Match Report】U-22 Japan National Team draw 2-2 in an international friendly against Germany
25 March 2023
On Friday 24 March, the U-22 Japan National Team, who are on a tour in Europe, played an international friendly match against the U-22 Germany National Team at the PSD Bank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany.
The match against Germany is the first game of the year for the team, who are aiming for the Paris Olympics next summer. Seeking to make a fresh start, Coach OIWA Go said the day before the match, “We want to see whether the players can demonstrate what we are trying to accomplish. That's what we'll be looking for.”
For this match, SUZUKI Zion (Urawa Red Diamonds) started in goal, with KATO Hijiri (V-Varen Nagasaki), KIMURA Seiji (FC Tokyo), NISHIO Ryuya (Cerezo Osaka), and UCHINO Takashi (Fortuna Dusseldorf) forming the four-man defence line. KAWASAKI Sota (Kyoto Sanga FC) and YAMAMOTO Rihito (Gamba Osaka) anchored the midfield with SUZUKI Yuito (RC Strasbourg) taking on the number 10 role, while YAMADA Fuki (Kyoto Sanga FC), HOSOYA Mao (Kashiwa Reysol), and SATO Kein (Meiji University) were named as the three attackers.
The match started with Germany taking the initiative, as they swiftly connected passes through the midfield to create chances, but led by Suzuki Zion, the Japanese players defended tenaciously to prevent the home side from scoring. In offence, Japan struggled to evade the aggressive pressure applied by Germany, and even when they did manage to create chances on the counter, they were unable to finish them with a shot.
The opening goal came in the 40th minute, when Germany won a penalty kick, in which they successfully converted to take the lead. Japan responded right back in the 43rd minute, when a corner kick delivered by Suzuki Yuito was flicked by Nishio to setup the goal of Sato, who struck a header into the net.
Gaining momentum from the equaliser scored before halftime, Japan took the lead from the first play of the second half, when Sato broke through the left side before cutting back a pass to assist the goal of Hosoya. However, Japan’s lead only lasted for a few minutes, as Germany came back scoring the equaliser in the 49th minute.
The game went back and forth from then on, with Japan creating some good chances from short counters, which they were unable to capitalise. NISHIKAWA Jun (Sagan Tosu) and MATSUMURA Yuta (Kashima Antlers), who came on as substitutes, showed great aggression in the closing minutes, but fell short from threatening the goal. The match ended 2-2, and Japan started off the European tour with a draw.
Coach and Players' Comments
OIWA Go, Head Coach
The intensity of our opponents and the pitch condition contributed to the match being much tougher than we anticipated, but it allowed us to realise what it’s like to play at the highest level. The players were overwhelmed at first, but gradually got used to the game and managed to find their rhythm. We played it safe at first, but I think we showed our willingness to take control of the ball possession.
MF #7 YAMAMOTO Rihito (Gamba Osaka)
We were expecting an intense match, so we all knew this was the way things were going to unfold. The fact that we were able to possess the ball against such a strong opponent gives us a lot of confidence, and if we can possess the ball longer, I feel like we can increase our chances of winning the game. We felt that we were able to move the ball in our own rhythm, so I think we can continue to play with confidence.
MF #18 SATO Kein (Meiji University)
We had been working on our set pieces, so I am glad I was able to score from it. Our opponents changed their side-backs after half-time, and I felt they were not prepared, so I made an attempt to penetrate the space behind them. It was great that we managed to score early in the second half, but it is a pity that we conceded immediately afterwards. It felt like it was a match we had to win, so I am disappointed with this result.
FW #11 HOSOYA Mao (Kashiwa Reysol)
The start of each half is the most important part of our game, and Sato did a great job to take advantage of a mistake made by our opponents. However, we had to possess the ball a little longer, as we struggled to connect the ball after winning it. If we can improve in those areas, I think we can find a better attacking shape and rhythm.
International Friendly Match
vs U-22 Germany National Team
Fri. 24 March 2023, 18:15 local time (Sat. 25 March, 2:15 Japan time)
Venue: PSD Bank Arena (Frankfurt, Germany)
vs U-22 Belgium National Team
Mon. 27 March 2023, 19:00 local time (Tue. 28 March, 2:00 Japan time)
Venue: Pinatar Arena (Murcia, Spain)
- National Teams 2023/06/03 【Match Report】U-16 Japan National Team keep title hopes alive with massive win over Nigeria - International Dream Cup 2023 JAPAN
- National Teams 2023/06/02 U-17 Japan National Team squad & schedule - AFC U17 Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 (6/17-7/2＠Thailand）
- National Teams 2023/06/01 【Match Report】U-16 Japan National Team start tournament with a loss to the USA - International Dream Cup 2023 JAPAN
- National Teams 2023/06/01 U-22 Japan National Team squad & schedule - Europe Tour (6/10 vs England＠England & 6/14 vs The Netherlands＠Austria)
- Grassroots 2023/05/31 “JFA UNIQLO SOCCER KIDS in Vietnam" to be held on 1 July＠Hanoi / 2 July＠Ho Chi Minh - Commemoration event of the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Vietnam and Japan -