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How come so many people were prepared to write off Japan's chances at the World Cup before the tournament even began?

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i am still not optimistic....world cup is not over yet, neither has Japan secured its position to best three even.

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I also wrote off Japan's chances in the first round, based on their form in the friendlies. But I do think some readers on Japan Today were writing off Japan's chances purely to indulge in Japan bashing, which unfortunately happens a lot on this site.

Anything can happen from now. Remember when South Korea made it to the semifinals in 2002? The traditional soccer powers shouldn't assume that they are going to do well. As in any sport, how you perform on the day is what counts, not how many times you have won the World Cup or European Championships.

And a star team will beat a team of stars any day.

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So many people wrote off Japans chances because of the following reasons.. .Jleague isn,t considered a strong league .Majority of Japans players are from the domestic league .Okada has been critized heavily for his format .Japans run to the world cup wasn,t exactly impressive .Japans friendlies prior to the world cup were atrocious .Didn,t have any clinical goal scorers .Physical stature compared to the likes of camerron and danmark seemed inferior. These are just a few......

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Being ranked 45 in the FIFA Rankings doesn't help. Before the last WC Japan were ranked 15.

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Simple! Because the Japanese team does not lose matches! The beat themselves (no pun intended).

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Could have something to do with the fairy weary hair styles and the pompous smug looks they have when they do win or the tears they cry when they lose or perhaps it was their FIFA ranking coupled with the coaches top 4 predicition or perhaps their lead up to the world cup which really wasn't impressive at all....I dont know which of these rubbed people the wrong way but there were a lot of people (myself included) that rode them off..

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Maybe Japan will not make it to the semifinals, but they were doing a good job, losing against England, by making themselves all the goals was not a bad sign (they played better than Mexico against that rival) and they are doing history with having very few elements in Europe... a big win for them compared to the shameful selections of France and Italy...

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Because they sucked and couldn't score goals. And though that has changed, don't see them going to the top 8. If they do, send me these words and I'll eat them with my natto for lunch.

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Come JT do you really need to ask this one LOL, the team prior to the start of the WC gave little to no indication they were up to doing well.

Good to be proven wrong.........

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Could it be the way the Japanese media deifies them just annoys people?

I know thats why I don't like them.

Oh, and that grotesque hair colour they all seem to have. It's like a half-digested Caramac bar (possible that only the Brits on here will understand that...)

The way Japanese people get too over-excited and start claiming that they're one of the best teams in the world when they're not also rubs people up the wrong way. England does it as well, but at least the media are critical of the team/players/manager, and most people get behind them but don't go as over the top as people do here.

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isthistheend - Because they sucked and couldn't score goals. And though that has changed

Has it changed? Two of the goals they got last night were from direct penalties - gifts.

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Japanese people think that expecting victory is arrogant. They never blow their own horn. That's all.

The team are playing great. Best of luck to them!

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I think because they were playing so badly leading up to the tournament... a draw with Zimbabwe?!?!

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as a non football fan, i guess people repugnant by the way j-media has been doing?

Japanese people think that expecting victory is arrogant. They never blow their own horn.

i am not really agree with that. every time i turn on j-tv seeing anything sport related, i can see only the opposite. remember what they think they can do before the japan-netherlands math? remember winter olympic last and last last time?

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Disillusioned,

Direct kicks, not direct penalties - big difference. Only a few goals scored on direct kicks so far in this WC - many blame the new ball Jabulani.

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That game with England was enough to make anyone think they would be out by now. No idea where they got "it" from but I am proud to see them play so well now.

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lostrune2 - Direct kicks, not direct penalties - big difference.

and exploded joyously when he and Yasuhito Endo, another star who plays for local club Gamba Osaka, scored from direct free kicks.

Sorry, my mistake. I am not a soccer noob.
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I read in the news today that even Honda was surprised when the ball went in. In his kicking practise sessions the Jabulani had been going every which way as usual, often upwards, more so at that altitude, and he was certainly not expecting it to go suddenly right where he kicked it.

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silly question JT. because they were playing like amateurs in the months leading up to the tournament maybe?

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Japanese people think that expecting victory is arrogant. They never blow their own horn. That's all.

Hahaha, guess you have never been to Jpn for any length of time LOL

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When they was playing prior to the tournament they was rubbish, more like an English mid table League 1 team like Millwall come to mind. Now they got the confidence to not be scared of the opposition, most probably becaus ethe didn`t expect to beat Cameroon who all the clever pundits in Britain said was dark horses.

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How come? Perhaps they enjoy being doomsayers, perhaps they are pessimists, perhaps they revel in their assumed 'I know all' superiority.

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Their long, choke-filled history?

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Because they played rubbish in their friendlies. Based on those performances, nobody could say they were definitely going to do well.

Could it be the way the Japanese media deifies them just annoys people? I know thats why I don't like them.

Me too. I actually quite like people like Matsui Hideki, because they're not so arrogant and seem easy-going, but when the media shows Japanese players only on the TV, and cameras switch off when they're not around, it really is annoying. And when the media makes stupid excuses or starts bragging about so-and-so and keeps asking foreigners what they think of this Jp person or that Jp person, I just switch the TV off. And yes, give the hair bleach a rest.

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Because they played rubbish in their friendlies. Based on those performances, nobody could say they were definitely going to do well.

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Best reply to this question.

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  Like I said before, soccer is a fluke game and a rigged game: fluke because of the huge goal and irregular ball and rigged with the PKs. Anyone can win given the right circumstances, and even the best can lose under the same.

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Three reasons. One, apart from having home advantage in 2002 they had never done anything in previous international competitions. Two, coach Okada was awful in 1998, and hardly inspired any confidence since his reappointment. Three, they were just terrible in the lead up to the competition. It was hard to see where goals were going to come from and the defence looked really shaky. The question should be, what happened? All three games, including the Netherlands match, Japan have been purposeful, tight, and direct. Is it something they ate?

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Because of the horrid 2-0 game vs S Korea. Even my Japanese wife predicted they would lose all 3 games. I predicted they would win, lose, draw, and just barely make it in to the next round.

BTW, I love Sergio Echigo. He criticizes the Japanese team like no other.

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As in all world cups, its not the constant preforming, but the build up. Japan has been building up nicely.

It is natural for Japanese not to be so confident anyway.

It has been a great world cup, and apart from those pesky horns, South Afrika has put on a great show! I would like to congratulate and thank them fore a great show so far!

Looking forward to the finals!!

Go Japan!!!!!!!

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What an odd question - Japan have been RUBBISH pretty much since winning the Asian Championships in 2003 (or 2004, I forget). Brief signs of life under Osim, but they have been truly dreadful. In a more competitive region than Asia, they wouldn't have qualified. I'm really happy that they're doing well, but even Japanese people didn't think they were going anywhere.

Soggygyoza - If anyone can win it, perhaps you can explain why in 80 years only 7 teams have managed? In fact, if you take out the the 2 nations who have won it only on home soil but have never reached a final away from home, and Uruguay who won it twice in the tournament's infancy, we're really only looking at FOUR teams. I guess they must be REALLY fluky.

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Obviously, because their pre-World Cup form was god-awful, and also because people seemed to have accepted this strange notion that they were in a very tough group. Cameroon and Denmark were always beatable teams.

They had three major problems in the team - paperweight strikers, inadequate protection for their defenders and a poor goalkeeper, all of which they addressed just before the first game. Actually watching Kawajima play in goal, it's a wonder how the other guy was ever picked before him. Moving the midfield playmaker (Honda) into attack to provide a physical presence and (gasp) the ability to receive a pass and not immediately give the ball away was borderline genius/desperation on Okada's part. Replacing him in midfield with Abe gave the defensive cover and bringing in Matsui to the wing ensured there were no passengers.

To have addressed every deficiency in the team was really unexpected. Now Japan are in good shape to face Paraguay, and while they won't be favourites they have a decent chance. Gambare Nippon!

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As in all world cups, its not the constant preforming, but the build up. Japan has been building up nicely.

It is natural for Japanese not to be so confident anyway.

The build up....................man sorry you lost me!

And yr 2nd bit...............clearly you havent spent much time on these shores!

I am pleasantly surprised my own dim predictions were false but the team gave no indication what so ever they were capable of doing much of anything prior to this WC & many yrs previous, lets hope they can keep it up

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Their performances (practice games) were pretty lack lustre and showed where deficiencies were - but many teams did the same.

But the media and shallow sports fans abandoned them like gomi.

They don't understand that in sports competitions nothing is a given - except maybe Bolt winning the 100/200m.

And this is even more so in International Competition like the World Cup or Olympics.

And this is even more so in a sport like soccer where luck - good or bad - plays a critical role due to the low scoring nature of the game.

So the basic misunderstanding of this premise, fuels the fair weather supporters and media. Ecstatic over a win and Ridicule over a loss.

3 weeks ago - HIDOII(terrible)OKADA : 2 weeks ago - OKA-chan : Now - OKADA NIPPON.

You gotta luv 'em.

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bookies ain't fools . They were 300-1 to win going in. The only teams worse were New Zealand and North Korea.

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I still write them off. They do not have the talent to beat Brazil, Germany, etc. They will not be champions.

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bookies ain't fools . They were 300-1 to win going in. The only teams worse were New Zealand and North Korea.

really? lol! even Honduras had better odds did they?

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The soccer team was written off due to the 0 to 2 when playing against South Korea. Japan lost the game. The articles written about the soccer team probably put the coach and the team on the radar to do better in the tournament if the team wants to advance.

The Japanese soccer team is not overall a great team that would be in the same league like the Brazil team but they are performing well on the field.

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