"i can ask you the same question. the players are under so much pressure during the PKs. even people like maradona have missed PKs before."
Oh, boo hoo, pressure. The ability to deal with pressure is why those guys are picked. Hitting a PK is like hitting a free throw in basketball. It's something you can do with your eyes closed if you've put in the work. Sometimes great shooters miss free throws in clutch situations, but that is NOT a matter of LUCK. It's a matter of letting nerves get to you.
Yeah, Maradona missed. So did Baggio, and all of England is terrified of PKs. But you know what? Nobody in their home country said, "Oh well, that's just bad luck." They called out every single one of those guys when they missed and told them that they failed. Because they did. The penalty kick is literally the easiest scoring opportunity in all of soccer. That's why they award it situations where you were basically denied an excellent shot at goal.
Stopping a PK, however, is mostly luck. The ball's so close, that you basically don't have time to react. You have to guess right and commit, or hope the other guy chokes, and kicks the ball weakly before you've committed.
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daisan: My mistake. :) But as for only naming the starting 11, you don't really learn as a sub, even if you do get in the game. You have to prepare to win most games in the first 45 minutes, not steal them in the last 30. So Okazaki will likely be back, but he's still going to be green. You need players who have WC experience. Germany, for example, is going to be tough to beat for many years. The US on the other hand, have a lot of players that could be good next WC, but they're coming in untested, and that's not a recipe for success. Japan suffers from the same roster difficulties now.
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daisan: Um, Kawashima blocked that PK against the Netherlands. He wasn't supposed to do that. That was all luck. Sure, he didn't hold on to it, but I don't think I've ever seen a low PK blocked without a rebound.
He did seem to move too early on the last 3 PKs, but once Komano missed, he knew that he HAD to get a save. (And he would have saved the 2nd if he just got there a tenth of a second quicker.) I'm guessing he just decided to try and guess a little earlier. It didn't work out for him, but, honestly, that's the way PKs are supposed to go. The shooter has EVERY advantage.
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The real crushing sin is this: This was Japan's best chance to go to the semis by far, and just like the US, they've blown it. Awaiting the winner of this match was the winner of Spain/Portugal, two sides who are notorious chokers on the big scene, and both of them had shown signs of weakness in the first round. The US just had to beat Ghana, and then they would face Uruguay, who they would have been slight underdogs to take down.
Because of the way Okada chose to build his squad, he built a really old team. Here are the ages of the squad, in order of how well they played this tournament:
Keisuke Honda: 24 (28 next Cup) Eiji Kawashima: 27 (31 next Cup, but early 30s is ok for a Goalkeeper.) Marcus Tulio Tanaka: 29 (33 next Cup) Yuki Abe: 28 (32 next Cup) Daisuke Matsui: 29 (33 next Cup) Yasuhito Endo: 30 (34 next Cup) Makoto Hasebe: 26 (30 next Cup) Yoshito Okubo: 28 (32 next Cup) Yuto Nagatomo: 23 (27 next Cup) Yuji Nakazawa: 32 (36 next Cup) Yuichi Komano: 28 (32 next Cup)
Look at that list. Who's old enough to take the experience they gained from this cup and roll it into a successful campaign in 4 years? Honda, Kawashima, and maybe Hasebe. So, next year, instead of having a mix of seasoned vets, and young standouts, you're going to have (maybe) 3 vets, and 8 greenhorns with limited international experience. That's a perfect setup for being bounced in the Group Stage. What's worse is that Japan was one of the few sides that actually looked like they had figured out the ball.
So they had a favorable draw. They had the an advantage with the ball, and they also had the advantage of playing with emerging stars that the other sides wouldn't have been able to properly scout the tendencies of. And all that's gone. Honda's not going to surprise anyone next Cup. You've seen how many goals world class players have scored when their opponents view them as the main threat. (Kaka, Lionel Messi, and Christiano Ronaldo have combined for 0 goals.)
Japan should feel much like the US should feel. They should feel like proud that their team showed that they belong, and at the same time, they should feel a lot of remorse knowing that they squandered the best opportunity they've ever had, and will likely get for a long, long time. And when that realization comes around, you'd better start looking for a new coach.
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"PKs are pretty much always based on luck."
Are you mad? PKs are only a matter of luck from the goalkeeper's standpoint. When someone misses, it's a horrible oversight on their part. If you put it on goal, and goalie guesses right, then that was all a matter of luck. When you whiff, that's failure.
Why Komano is even up there is the question. The guy played in 54 international matches, he's scored 0 goals, he's a defender, and he was by far Japan's worst player up until that point in the game. He obviously was running on dead legs. Which means he's not going to be an effective shooter. Why have him shoot 3rd out of the 11 players on the field? If you were going to have a defender shoot, why not Tanaka, who scored 4 goals in 15 matches playing for Japan?
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