Invincible Japan? ‘Definite Achilles’ Gun’ Exposed…What should I do with GK in a hurry

Japan started off the schedule in a good mood by winning the first group match. However, it was confirmed that Japan’s weakness as the “candidate” in the first group match was the goalkeeper. Japan beat Vietnam 4-2 in the first group match of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup at Altumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday.

A lot of attention was paid to Japan’s first match as a leading candidate. Many foreign media, including global sports media such as ESPN and Euro Sports, all expect Japan to win the Asian Cup. In addition, soccer statistics media ‘Opta’ analyzed the probability of winning the Asian Cup through a supercomputer, and Japan’s probability of winning as disclosed by the media was 24.6%. 토토사이트 순위

South Korea, led by Jurgen Klinsmann, is the second favorite and has a 14.3% chance of winning. South Korea is considered to be the best team ever, including Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae, and Lee Kang-in, but many people expect Japan to win.

This is because Japan has recently been bringing good performances and results. Japan reached the round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar by defeating soccer powers Germany and Spain, and was winning 10 consecutive A matches. Right now, Japan continued its momentum by defeating Jordan, which was assigned to the same group as Korea, 6-1, in a friendly match just before the Asian Cup finals.

As a candidate for the title, Japan composed mostly of European leagues from the match against Vietnam. At the forefront of the Japanese team was Kashiwa Reysol striker Hosoya Mao. European leagues filled all midfields. Keito Nakamura (Lance), Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco), Junya Ito (Lance), Hidesama Morita (Sporting CP), and Wataru Endo (Liverpool) took charge of the sides and the midfield. Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart), Shogo Taniguchi (Al-Laiyan), Ko Itakura (Mönchengladbach) and Sugawara Yukinari (Alkmar) were the defense players. Suzuki (Sintrawidan) wore the goalie gloves.

Key players such as Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton & Hove Albion) and Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) were excluded or sat on the bench, but the lineup was strong enough. Except for best striker Hosoya and center back Itakura, all nine of them are players who play in Europe. In Japan, 20 of the 26 players who participate in this year’s championship are from Europe.

Considering players’ capacity and recent trend, Japan was expected to easily win the match against Vietnam. However, the ball is generally round. Contrary to expectations, Japan had a difficult game.

It got off to a good start. Minamino scored the first goal 11 minutes into the first half to take the lead. Sugawara attempted to shoot after capturing the ball that flowed after the corner kick, but it was deflected off the defense and Minamino connected it with a shot to score the goal. However, five minutes later in the first half, Japan conceded the tying goal to 19-year-old Vietnamese prospect Nguyen Dinh Pak at 16 minutes into the first half.

In the 33rd minute of the first half, he even allowed a reversal. Sugawara made a foul to stop Nguyen Din Park, and Vietnam’s come-from-behind goal came from here. The ball, which Suzuki did not handle properly, was directed to Palm Tuan Hai, and Palm Tuan Hai pushed it in.

However, Japan was also the favorite. Japan tied the match in the 45th minute with a light shot from Minamino, who received an Endo pass, looking towards the other side of the goal, and Nakamura scored a wonder goal in the 5th minute of stoppage time to take the lead again.

Japan, which finished the first half 3-2 after a hard-hitting battle, led the game in the second half and pressured Vietnam. Unlike the first half, Japan did not score much, but Japan defended the lead by blocking Vietnam’s sharp counterattack and sealed the game with Ayase Ueda’s score at the end of the second half. In the end, the game ended with a 4-2 victory for Japan.

Regardless of the result, it was a game that left a bitter taste as a “candidate” for the winner. This is because he exposed his weaknesses. Japan’s biggest weakness that could have been identified in the match against Vietnam was the “lack of experience” of the goalkeeper, to be precise.

Japan, which is seeking to change its goalie generation in recent years, has made changes to its goalie list even before the Asian Cup. Veteran goalkeepers such as Shuichi Konda (Shimizu Espulse) and Daniel Schmidt (Sint-Trawidan) did not make the Asian Cup final entry, as well as Kosuke Nakamura (Portimonense), who is in his late 20s, did not make the draft. Instead, the team brought Suzuki, Daiya Maekawa (Vissel Kobe), and Daishi Nozawa (FC Tokyo), who started the match against Vietnam, to Qatar. Suzuki and Nozawa are 21 and Maekawa is 29.

The problem is that the three players have very little experience in A matches. Maekawa, the oldest of the three, played nine minutes in a friendly match against Myanmar in November. It was Maekawa’s A match debut. Nozawa has only been called up to the national team, but has no experience in playing.

Suzuki is the most experienced player, and even Suzuki has played in only four A matches. Instead, three of the four matches are relatively recent. Unless something unexpected happens, Japan is highly likely to use Suzuki as the No. 1 goalkeeper during the tournament. Following the match against Thailand just before the Asian Cup, Japan selected Suzuki in the first group match against Vietnam, showing confidence in Suzuki.

However, Suzuki felt uneasy. When the tying goal was lost to Nguyen Din Park in the 16th minute of the first half, her header flew into the difficult course to block, but Suzuki’s selection of location was not very good. When allowing Vietnam to score a come-from-behind goal in the 33rd minute of the first half, the team failed to properly deal with the ball that fell after the contest, giving an excuse for the loss. Both scenes were errors resulting from lack of experience.

This could be Japan’s Achilles heel, which is considered a strong contender for the title at the upcoming Asian Cup. Japan is the overwhelming team in terms of strength and performance among Asian Cup participants, as all 11 players can be composed of European teams. However, if Japan continues to show its weaknesses in set piece play like the match against Vietnam, there is a possibility that Japan, which created an unexpected incident in the Qatar World Cup, will fall victim to an unexpected incident this time.

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