Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu Photo: AFP
fifa world cup 2022

Japan looking to make World Cup splash after sinking Germany

By Andrew McKIRDY

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu was given a surprise shower by a pitch sprinkler on Thursday but it did nothing to dampen his spirits after his team's stunning victory over Germany.

The Blue Samurai came from behind to beat the four-time world champions 2-1 in their Group E opener on Wednesday and are now eyeing a place in the last 16, with Costa Rica their next opponents.

Moriyasu led his team in a workout on Thursday afternoon and was given an unexpected soaking when a sprinkler doused him as he spoke to reporters.

The manager laughed off his early shower but warned his players not to get carried away by their historic triumph.

"All we're thinking about is the next game that's in front of us, the same as we always do," Moriyasu said, stressing that the Germany game was already in the past.

"On the day of a game we celebrate if we win or we feel frustrated if we lose, but we always think of the things we could have done better and start preparing for the next game in a positive way."

Moriyasu said beating Germany had given Japan "peace of mind" for Sunday's game against Costa Rica, who were hammered 7-0 by Spain in their opener.

Costa Rica must win to revive their chances of reaching the knock-out round and Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo said his team will be waiting to exploit any gaps they leave behind.

Nagatomo believes Japan have become a versatile side who are now "difficult for opponents to understand".

"Tactically, we have become a team where it wouldn't look strange if any of us were playing in any position," he said.

"I think we've become hard for our opponents to analyze, almost like a chameleon."

Japan had to dig deep to stay in the game against the Germans, coming back from 1-0 down to win with goals from substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano.

The result puts Japan in the driving seat to claim a place in the knock-out round but that will not be enough to satisfy their ambitions.

"It was a big result for Japanese soccer but we haven't changed history yet," said Doan. "Our minimum target is to reach the quarterfinals and that's what we've been talking about as a team."

The arrival of Doan and fellow attacking substitutes Asano, Kaoru Mitoma and Takumi Minamino in the second half against Germany helped turn the tide in Japan's favor.

Nagatomo said the injection of pace "lit a fire" under Japan and made them a hit with neutrals inside the Khalifa International Stadium.

"You could see the difference in the mood on the German bench and the Japanese bench," he said. "The fact that we were all united came across to the crowd and moved them. The stadium started rooting for Japan."

The win was also greeted with raucous excitement across Japan, with crowds taking to the streets and packing into bars to celebrate.

Nagatomo cautioned that a defeat against Costa Rica would pour cold water on the party atmosphere.

"The most important thing is that we don't let off just because we won," he said. "We have to put that away and move on to the next one. It was a great win but if we lose the next one, it will have all been for nothing."

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Absolutely brilliant manager- up there with the very best IMO. It puzzled me as to why he copped criticism for his squad selection and leaving certain players out. Those critics have well and truly gone quiet!

Go Moriyasu-Japan! Seal the R16 spot...then let's see how far they go!

3 ( +9 / -6 )

On the other hand, chairman of Japan football association said that media bring up human rights violation about FIFA world cup is undesirable.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Ideal would be Japan beating Costa Rica and Spain-Germany getting a draw. Then Japan would only need a draw vs Spain to win the group. I'd rather not see Belgium again.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

end of story nice could not agree more,stay humble do your best.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

If Japan could just reach the semifinals, that would be enough for me. If they reach the finals, that would be the best.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

If Japan could just reach the semifinals, that would be enough for me. If they reach the finals, that would be the best.

Moriyasu has set the benchmark as the Semi finals - minimum. And with this gaffer, there is real hope behind that statement. Topping the group will make the path easier.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Looking at their media seems they have won the world cup.

I give them credit that they defeated a four time world champion team but Germany lost the game by itself.

Football is European and South American,and for sure one of the two continents (as usual) will bring the cup.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Fighto!Today  10:02 am JST

If Japan could just reach the semifinals, that would be enough for me. If they reach the finals, that would be the best.

Moriyasu has set the benchmark as the Semi finals - minimum. And with this gaffer, there is real hope behind that statement. Topping the group will make the path easier.

Semi finals? keep dreaming.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Moriyasu has set the benchmark as the Semi finals - minimum. 

Actually he said final 8 which would be the first time in Japan's history.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Japan could win next game..


-1 ( +5 / -6 )

It was a great victory indeed. Well deserved and hardly worked.

But don’t get it wrong, German sun themselves. Lost to Mexico and South Korea in 2018, out in R16 (out of 24 teams) in Euro 2020, and with an almost full renovation in the squad.

Hope Japan does their best and qualifying to the bracket would be an accomplishment already

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Looking at the stats of the match between Germany and Japan, Germany dominated in every category (except scoring). Possession, Germany controlled the ball 76% of the match. Shots on target, Germany had 9 to Japan’s 4. Passes, Germany had 750+ passes to Japan’s 250+ passes.

Japan’s goalie did a spectacular job but he’s going to have to do it every match of the World Cup if the opposing teams they face dominate the field.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why the fascination with possession by so many people over the last few days? Japan - much improved. Fantastic win and deserve all the credit for it. BUT - Germany are still a side that are are technically , physically and on 9 days out of 10 coached tactically better than Japan.

There was a game exactly like on the last day of the Premier League before the World Cup Break. Man City vs Brentford. Same result 1-2. Possession 74% vs 26% . Corners 10 -2.

Do you not think that the coaches know this? Japan, like Brentford will have been told to sit back and absorb the pressure from what they know is a superior team and play on the counter. No need to chase the game whilst its 0-0 if you are Japan. They would have VERY happy with the draw pre-game, for sure. Brentford would have been very happy with the draw AT Man City.

In that game Man City behaved like they'd already left for the World Cup. In Wednesdays Game, Germany just thought it was a warm up and had NO idea what hit them in the second half. Careless, Arrogant and in that group a mistake that could send them on a very early plane home.

The confidence that this instills in tournament play is invaluable and I full expect that Japan will secure a win on Sunday and a passage into the last 16.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Asian football is on the rise. Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and Iran are all capable of moving ahead and landing into the last 16. All the best.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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