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HOME > National Teams > U-23 2024 > AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ TOP > NEWS > 【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team lose to Korea Republic to advance to knockout stage as runners-up - AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™


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【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team lose to Korea Republic to advance to knockout stage as runners-up - AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™

23 April 2024

【Match Report】U-23 Japan National Team lose to Korea Republic to advance to knockout stage as runners-up - AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™

The U-23 Japan National Team played their third group stage match of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ against the U-23 Korea Republic National Team at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Monday 22 April.

Having booked their place in the knockout stage with a 2-0 win over UAE, Japan made seven changes, with NOZAWA Taishi Brandon (FC Tokyo) starting in goal and HANDA Riku (Gamba Osaka), SUZUKI Kaito (Jubilo Iwata), TAKAI Kota (Kawasaki Frontale) and UCHINO Takashi (Fortuna Düsseldorf) starting in defence. KAWASAKI Sota (Kyoto Sanga FC), TANAKA Satoshi (Shonan Bellmare) and ARAKI Ryotaro (FC Tokyo) were named in midfield, while FUJIO Shota (FC Machida Zelvia) and HIRAKAWA Yu (FC Machida Zelvia) were deployed on the flanks, with UCHINO Kotaro (University of Tsukuba) starting as a central striker.

With Nozawa, Handa, Tanaka and Uchino Kotaro all making their first starts of the tournament, 22 of the 23 players in the squad have now started for Japan.

Korea Republic also made five changes to their starting line-up from the second match and to Japan’s surprise, played a five-back formation, in which head coach OIWA Go recalled, “We were not expecting them to play that defensively.”

Japan dominated their opposition in the first half, but struggled to create chances, as Suzuki later commented, “We were a bit too passive when we had the ball and couldn't finish our plays with a shot.”

In an attempt to change the dynamic of the game, Japan brought on FUJITA Joel Chima (Sint-Truidense VV), MATSUKI Kuryu (FC Tokyo) and SATO Kein (SV Werder Bremen) in the 63rd minute, but were caught out in the 75th minute when Korea Republic's KIM Min-Woo converted a corner to hand Japan their first conceded goal.

Despite their late surge, Japan were unable to find an equaliser, as Matsuki recalled after the match, “We were not clinical in the final third, which has been a problem since the second game.” Japan's 0-1 defeat to Korea Republic saw them finish the group stage with a record of two wins and one loss, and advance to the knockout stage as runners-up in Group B.

After the match, coach Oiwa said that “We cannot let this result affect us moving forward,” and added, “The fact that all the field players were able to make an appearance (through the three group stage matches) will help us later in the tournament. We need to sort out our approach in both defence and offence, including set pieces, before entering our match against Qatar.”

Japan will face Qatar in the quarterfinals on Thursday 25 April.

Coach's and Players' Comments

OIWA Go, Head Coach of U-23 Japan National Team
We were able to play through the three group stage matches as planned, playing 22 of our 23 man squad. I am sure the players are disappointed that we lost this match, but our main focus is to advance through to the knockout stage. From here on, however, we need to keep winning to stay in the tournament. We have created plenty of opportunities, so we just need to play with confidence and keep doing what we are doing. We also need to be prepared so that we are not caught out on counterattacks.

GK #12 NOZAWA Taishi Brandon (FC Tokyo)
I was able to enter the match feeling the responsibility of playing for the national team, but without being pressured by it. We weren’t able to capitalise on our chances, while conceding a goal in a tight game, which is really frustrating. Our approach was more to blame than how our opponents played against us, so we need to reflect on how we conceded and try to improve. We know who we are up against next, so we will do our best to prepare for that game.

DF #2 HANDA Riku (Gamba Osaka)
It felt like we could have created more chances and made them chase us more if we had positioned ourselves better in the first half. We managed to create more chances in the second half after they went deeper, but we still lost 0-1. The quarterfinal against the hosts will certainly be different from the other games, so we will do our best to prepare and try to stay on the same page as a team.

FW #18 UCHINO Kotaro (University of Tsukuba)
I really wanted to make the most of the opportunity, so I'm really disappointed not to have scored in this game. They played a different formation than we expected, and I tried to get behind their defence but I couldn't get on the same page with my teammates. I wish we had communicated more in the first half. After the game, we continued to encourage each other, which made me want to contribute even more to the team.

YouTube(AFC):#AFCU23 | Group B : Japan 0 - 1 Korea Republic

AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™

Tournament dates: Mon. 15 April - Fri. 3 May 2024

Group stage
1st match: Tue. 16 April, ◯1-0 vs China PR
2nd match: Sat. 20 April, ◯2-0 vs UAE
3rd match: Mon. 22 April, ●0-1 vs Korea Republic

Knockout stage
Quarterfinals: Thu. 25 April, 23:00 vs Qatar
*Kick-off time listed in Japan time

Tournament information

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