Posted by: MOIST | June 19, 2010

Japan 0-1 Netherlands

EAiSA Prediction: 0-3 loss for Japan

Despite the best attempts of Eiji Kawashima, Japan go into their final game against Denmark knowing that their fate is in their own hands. It’s all very simple, really, win or draw and qualify for the last 16, lose and head on home.

Thanks to the fact that Japan were able to get a better result against the Dutch than the Danes they are in a strong position with 90 minutes to go. Another very solid defensive performance has shown that Japan have finally learned to concentrate for the whole game and, if it hadn’t been for a world class cock up from Kawashima, they may have secured the point their defensive performance deserved.

Ok, so they didn’t offer a great deal up front, relying more on harassing and pressurising the Dutch in midfield than trying to mount sustained attacks, but surely that is just a case of playing to their strengths? The Dutch argued that Japan has played negative, defensive football rather than, I suppose, rolling over and letting the Dutch score a hatful just to keep the neutrals happy. The nerve of it all.

Imagine how much the Dutch would have whined if Okazaki had been able to keep his late effort down? I suppose it would have reached Arsenalesque proportions.

There were rumours before the game that there was unease in the Japanese camp after death threats relating to the use of ‘the Sea of Japan’ were received but Okada dismissed these out of hand. The plot, as famed educator and sports pundit Michael E Griffin once observed, thickens.

Player Match Reports:

Starting XI:

Eiji Kawashima: Had an absolute howler for the goal which ruined an otherwise solid performance. Will Okada do a Capello and dump him for the Denmark game?

Yuto Nagatomo: Got forward well and had a good shot in the first half. Switched to right back when the dangerous Elia came on and didn’t give him much space. Pulled out a shocking dive in injury time.

Marcus Tulio Tanaka: Had another rock solid game apart from when he tried to bag a late own goal. Moved upfield late on and set up Okazaki for his miss. Will Europe come calling?

Yuji Nakazawa: Like Tulio he was dominant at the back. If the pair of them play like this against Denmark the point is guaranteed.

Yuichi Komano: Nothing outstanding, nothing awful.

Yuki Abe: Sat in front of the back four again and gave the Dutch all sorts of problems.

Makoto Hasebe: In conjunction with Abe gave the Dutch no space in midfield.

Yasuhito Endo: Was better than against Cameroon and his delivery was much improved.

Daisuke Matsui: Full of energy and got forward really well. Showed the form that has made him a favourite in Europe.

Yoshito Okubo: A lovely touch of skill in the first half was the highlight of a solid, energetic performance.

Keisuke Honda: Plied the lone furrow up front again and gave his all. Hard to tell it’s not his natural position.

Subs:

Shunsuke Nakamura (64 mins for Matsui): Are you sure? Barely noticed he was on the field and think his time, especially at international level, is up.

Shinji Okazaki (77 mins for Hasebe): Had an excellent late chance to equalise but couldn’t keep his shot down.

Keiji Tamada (77 mins for Okazaki): Really?

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