NEWS

Samurai Blue

Reds trio, Frontale duo called up by Japan

The Japan Football Association on Thursday announced their list of 24 call-ups for Japan’s upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against UAE and Thailand.

Ten players from the MEIJI YASUDA J.League were featured on the list, including three from Urawa Reds in goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa, defender, Tomoaki Makino, and midfielder Yosuke Kashiwagi.

Kawasaki Frontale were the only other side to contribute multiple players, with Rio Olympics participant Ryota Oshima joining striker Yu Kobayashi in the squad.

The Samurai Blue will open the final round of qualifying against UAE on September 1 at Saitama Stadium before traveling to face the War Elephants of Thailand at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on September 6.


Japan squad

GK
Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds)
Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka)
Akihiro Hayashi (Sagan Tosu)

DF
Yuto Nagatomo (Inter / Italy)
Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds)
Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo)
Kosuke Ota (Vitesse / Holland)
Maya Yoshida (Southampton / England)
Hiroki Sakai (Marseille / France)
Gotoku Sakai (Hamburger SV / Germany)
Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers)

MF
Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt / Germany)
Yosuke Kashiwagi (Urawa Reds)
Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund / Germany)
Hiroshi Kiyotake (Sevilla / Spain)
Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka)
Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)

FW
Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City / England)
Keisuke Honda (Milan / Italy)
Yu Kobayashi (Kawasaki Frontale)
Genki Haraguchi (Hertha Berlin / Germany)
Takashi Usami (Augsburg / Germany)
Yoshinori Muto (Mainz / Germany)
Takuma Asano (Arsenal / England)

Samurai Blue

Japan fail to qualify for Rio quarterfinals despite Sweden win

Japan won 1-0 over Sweden in their final group stage match of the 2016 Rio Olympic men’s football competition, but it was not enough to see them through to a second straight knockout tournament appearance.

Shinya Yajima scored the lone goal of the encounter in the 65th minute, shortly after relieving Takumi Minamino.

Makoto Teguramori’s men did well to earn their first clean sheet of the Games against their European opposition.

But the result was for naught as Colombia defeated Group B winners Nigeria 2-0, assuring that Japan would finish the stage in third place.

Samurai Blue

Japan draw 2-2 with Colombia in Olympics

Goals from Takuma Asano and Shoya Nakajima helped Japan earn their first point of the 2016 Rio Olympics group stage in a 2-2 draw against Colombia.

The reigning Asian Under-23 champions got off to a much better start than they displayed against Nigeria in the opening match, creating several chances in a first half which ended scoreless.

Colombia took the lead shortly before the hour mark when Teofilo Gutierrez opened scoring and made it 2-0 shortly after when Gamba Osaka’s Hiroki Fujiharu recorded an own goal.

Arsenal transferee Asano cut the deficit in half just two minutes later before FC Tokyo attacker Nakajima evened the score with a tremendous mid-range blast that curved under the crossbar.

Neither side was able to find a game-winner, leaving Japan third in Group B with one point behind Colombia (two points) and group winners Nigeria (six points), who won 1-0 against Sweden earlier in the day.

Samurai Blue

Japan fall to Nigeria in Olympic opener

An early flurry of goals set the stage for a disappointing 5-4 loss to Nigeria by Japan on Friday morning in their opening match of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The African side took the lead after just six minutes when Sadiq Umar took advantage of a poor clearance by goalkeeper Masatoshi Kushibiki, with overage selection Shinzo Koroki equalising from the spot just three minutes later.

Oghenekaro Etubo responded less than a minute later with a goal of his own, but Japan drew even again just a minute after that when Ryota Oshima assisted Takumi Minamino.

Etubo scored again shortly before halftime and twice more in the second half to complete the hat trick and give Nigeria a 5-2 lead.

But a 70th-minute goal by Takuma Asano and extra time strike by Musashi Suzuki made way for the final scoreline.

Makoto Teguramori’s men will have just three days to recover before facing Colombia, who drew 2-2 with Sweden earlier on Friday.

Samurai Blue

Japan announces Rio 2016 squad

The Japan Football Association on Friday announced Japan’s Under-23 squad for the men’s football tournament at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Sixteen J.League players were chosen for the squad, including overage selections Hiroki Fujiharu, Tsubasa Shiotani, and Shinzo Koroki. 

Former J.Leaguers Takumi Minamino and Yuya Kubo, both currently playing in Europe, also made the list.

Makoto Teguramori’s team will face Brazil in a pre-tournament warm-up on July 31 at 4:30 JST.


Japan U-23 squad for Rio 2016

Goalkeepers

Masatoshi Kushibiki (Kashima Antlers)
Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol)

Defenders

Hiroki Fujiharu (Gamba Osaka) [OA]
Tsukasa Shiotani (Sanfrecce Hiroshima) [OA]
Masashi Kamekawa (Avispa Fukuoka)
Sei Muroya (FC Tokyo)
Takuya Iwanami (Vissel Kobe)
Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers)

Midfielders

Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)
Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds)
Riki Harakawa (Kawasaki Frontale)
Shinya Yajima (Fagiano Okayama)
Shoya Nakajima (FC Tokyo)
Takumi Minamino (RB Salzburg/Austria)
Yosuke Ideguchi (Gamba Osaka)

Strikers

Shinzo Koroki (Urawa Reds) [OA]
Yuya Kubo (BSC Young Boys/Switzerland)
Takuma Asano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)

Backup 

Daichi Sugimoto (Tokushima Vortis)
Shinnosuke Nakatani (Kashiwa Reysol)
Gakuto Notsuda (Albirex Niigata)
Musashi Suzuki (Albirex Niigata)

Samurai Blue

Japan U23s beat South Africa in final domestic Rio tune-up

The Japan Under-23 team sent a strong message to their Olympic opponents with a 4-1 friendly win over South Africa on Wednesday night at Matsumotodaira Stadium.

Despite allowing the visitors to take the lead after Masashi Kamekawa’s handball resulted in a free kick, Japan were soon able to equalise through a left-footed effort by Sho Nakajima. 

The FC Tokyo man scored his second goal soon after Shinya Yajima put the team into the lead for good in the 44th minute, giving Japan a 3-1 advantage at half time.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima starlet Takuma Asano added a fourth goal just three minutes into the second half, completing the rout for Makoto Teguramori’s men.

Japan’s squad for the upcoming tournament in Rio will be announced on July 1.

Samurai Blue

Urawa Reds’ Koroki selected for Olympic squad

The Japan Football Association on Thursday announced Shinzo Koroki as the third and final overage player selection for Japan’s 2016 Rio Olympics squad.

The Urawa Reds striker joins Sanfrecce Hiroshima centre-back Tsukasa Shiotani and Gamba Osaka left back Hiroki Fujiharu in the squad of 18, which will be announced on July 1.

“[Koroki] has great post play, can break through the opponent’s back line, and can also contribute to the counter-attack,” Japan U-23 coach Makoto Teguramori commented. 

“He’s a player who will increase our attacking variety in Rio, and his flexibility will be effective against stronger opponents.

“He’s worked hard for Kashima Antlers and Urawa Reds, and now I hope he’ll shine for Japan at the Olympics and insert himself into the picture for Russia 2018.”

Samurai Blue

Japan U23 squad announced for South Africa friendly

The Japan Football Association on Monday announced the Japan Under-23 squad for next week’s Kirin Challenge Cup friendly against South Africa.

All 21 members hail from J.League sides, with FC Tokyo, Albirex Niigata, and Kashiwa Reysol contributing three players each.

The match at Matsumotodaira Stadium in Nagano will be the final domestic appearance of Japan’s U23 team before they begin training for the upcoming Rio Olympics.

Goalkeepers
1 Masatoshi Kushibiki (Kashima Antlers)
12 Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol)

Defenders
2 Sei Muroya (FC Tokyo)
4 Ken Matsubara (Albirex Niigata)
5 Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers)
6 Kento Hashimoto (FC Tokyo)
15 Mavashi Kamekawa (Avispa Fukuoka)
19 Genta Miura (Shimizu S-Pulse)
20 Shinnosuke Nakatani (Kashiwa Reysol)

Midfielders
3 Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds)
7 Riki Harakawa (Kawasaki Frontale)
8 Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)
10 Shinya Yajima (Fagiano Okayama)
11 Gakuto Notsuda (Albirex Niigata)
14 Yuto Toyokawa (Fagiano Okayama)
17 Yosuke Ideguchi (Gamba Osaka)
18 Junya Ito (Kashiwa Reysol)

Forwards
9 Musashi Suzuki (Albirex Niigata)
13 Shoya Nakajima (FC Tokyo)
16 Takuma Asano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
21 Ado Onaiwu (JEF United Chiba)

Samurai Blue

Asano rues wasted chances against Bosnia

Sanfrecce Hiroshima striker Takuma Asano revealed disappointment in his own performance following Japan’s 1-2 loss to Bosnia & Herzegovina on Tuesday night in the Kirin Cup 2016 final.

The 21-year-old, who started his first match for the senior national team, saw several opportunities in front of the goal wasted in the defeat.

“I regret that with a chance to score I chose to pass,” Asano said after the match. “I guess I wasn’t feeling optimistic, but I wanted to have the confidence to finish with a shot.

“I made the same mistake before (in Olympic qualifying) when I chose a pass while I was in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It’s disappointing that I haven’t been able to learn from that experience.

“I still have to do a whole lot more, but on the other hand I sensed that I’m capable of doing more. I need to remember this disappointment and use it to help prepare for next time.”

Samurai Blue

Japan fall short in Kirin Cup final

Japan took the lead against Bosnia & Herzegovina through Hiroshi Kiyotake but eventually fell 2-1 in the final of the Kirin Cup on Tuesday.

With star attackers Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa left off the starting XI due to injury, Gamba Osaka’s Takashi Usami and Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Takuma Asano joined Leicester striker Shinji Okazaki leading the front line. 

After breaking past defenders on the left side Usami’s skilful grounder in the 28th minute set up Kiyotake’s opening goal. But just one minute later, Milan Duric capitalised on a fumbled clearance attempt by Urawa Reds goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa to even the score at 1-1.

Duric scored his second goal in the 66th minute to give Bosnia the lead, and eventually the title, despite a Japan comeback attempt which featured the international debut of Jubilo Iwata midfielder Yuki Kobayashi. 

Fans were also treated to appearances by Kashima Antlers attacker Mu Kanazaki, and Kawasaki Frontale striker Yu Kobayashi.

Denmark took third place in the friendly invitational after they dominated in a 4-0 win over Bulgaria in the afternoon match.

Samurai Blue

Halilhodzic commends “brave” Asano

Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic had mixed praise for his team following their 7-2 win over Bulgaria on Friday night in the Kirin Cup 2016 semifinal.

The victory at Toyota Stadium featured plenty of goal-scoring but also exposed problems with the team’s defending, particularly in the second half.

“Offensively it was a terrific match,” Halilhodzic told reporters. “We wanted the players to move the ball quickly with one- and two-touch passing, and the goals were fantastic.

“I want to applaud them, but I’m disappointed in the two goals we surrendered. Maybe we slacked off, maybe we weren’t serious enough, but you don’t always finish ideally. But we’re on a good path, and if we continue on that path we’ll play well in [FIFA World Cup] qualifying.”

Halilhodzic also reserved some of his compliments for Sanfrecce Hiroshima striker Takuma Asano, who scored his first senior goal from the penalty spot late in the match.

“Even as a substitute he was ready to take the kick,” the Bosnian said. “He’s a very brave person. I’ve been keeping track of him for over a year. He was struggling to earn a starting role at Sanfrecce, but I’ve been very interested in his power towards the back.

“I’m happy with how he played and tonight he showed that he’ll be able to score goals.”

Samurai Blue

Kashiwagi not satisfied after Bulgaria win

Urawa Reds midfielder Yosuke Kashiwagi saw plenty of room for improvement following Japan’s 7-2 win over Bulgaria on Friday night in the semi-final of the Kirin Cup 2016.

Goal rushes in both halves were offset by defensive errors in Bulgaria’s two consolation strikes, which came with veteran goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima between the posts.

“I’m not satisfied with the result,” Kashiwagi said after the match. “The defence didn't click after we changed several players in the second half, and I feel like I wasn’t able to show my qualities before the match ended.

“The first half was very good and we used the sides and centre of the pitch effectively, but we have to be stronger on defence. We lost bad balls in the second half and there were times when we didn’t see their counters. We have to reflect on a lot and try to improve.”

The Samurai Blue will play Bosnia & Herzegovina in the cup final on Tuesday night at Osaka’s Suita Stadium.

Samurai Blue

Usami, Asano score in Bulgaria blowout

Japan’s national team eased their way to a 7-2 victory over Bulgaria on Friday night to reach the final of the Kirin Cup 2016.

J.League players Masato Morishige, Yosuke Kashiwagi, and Yu Kobayashi were named as starters, but it was Europe-based players such as Shinji Okazaki, Shinji Kagawa – with a brace – and Maya Yoshida who gave the Samurai Blue a 4-0 lead at halftime.

Yoshida scored his second of the night after halftime, followed by Takashi Usami who made it 6-0 in the 57th minute. 

Bulgaria’s Mihail Aleksandrov and Ivaylo Cochev both netted consolation goals but substitute Takuma Asano, who replaced Kobayashi at the hour mark, converted from the spot shortly before full time for the final scoreline.

Japan will meet Bosnia & Herzegovina, who defeated Denmark in penalty kicks following a 2-2 draw, in Tuesday night’s final at Osaka’s Suita Stadium.

Samurai Blue

Halilhodzic praises progress of J.League newcomers

Japan national coach Vahid Halilhodzic spoke to reporters ahead of the Samurai Blue’s Kirin Cup 2016 campaign.

Fourteen J.League players have been summoned to the squad, including first time call-ups Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale) and Yuki Kobayashi (Jubilo Iwata).

“Oshima and Kobayashi aren’t ready yet, and for now I want them to watch and learn,” Halilhodzic said on Wednesday. “I think that Takuma Asano has a much bigger chance of being involved in the upcoming matches.

“However we only started tactical training on Tuesday (May 31) and [Oshima and Kobayashi] already proven my reasons for calling them up. 

“They’re talented, and now I want them to show the effort needed to establish themselves as regular national team members.”

Japan will face Bulgaria on Friday at Toyota Stadium before playing either Denmark or Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday at Suita Stadium.

Samurai Blue

Japan U23s to face Brazil in Olympic warmup

Japan’s Under-23 national team will face their Brazilian counterparts in a friendly shortly before the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The match will take place on Saturday, July 30 at the Estadio Serra Dourada in Goiania.

“It’s important that we play a strong opponent we wouldn’t normally face until we progressed in the tournament,” coach Makoto Teguramori said. 

“That’s especially true when you consider how significant our opening match will be. This will be a chance to increase our intensity ahead of the tournament and I hope the players will gain valuable experience from this match.”

Japan, who finished fourth at the 2012 London Olympics, have been matched with Sweden, Colombia and Nigeria in the group stage.

Samurai Blue

Japan U23 fall to England in Toulon finale

Japan’s Under-23 national team concluded its Toulon Tournament campaign on Friday with a 1-0 loss to England’s U23s, giving them a group stage record of one win and three losses.

After conceding the only goal of the game in the 15th minute, Makoto Teguramori’s side created several good chances but were unable to produce an equaliser.

The squad’s J.League players, including Samurai Blue call-up Ryota Oshima of Kawasaki Frontale, will return to Japan this weekend.

Samurai Blue

Japan U23 eliminated from Toulon despite Guinea win

The Japan Under-23 national team earned its first win of the Toulon Tournament on Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over the Guinea U23s, though it was not enough to send them through to the knockout round.

A third-minute goal by Yokohama F. Marinos striker Cayman Togashi was soon equalised by the opponents, but RB Salzburg’s Takumi Minamino delivered the game-winner in the 39th minutes from Sagan Tosu midfielder Daichi Kamada’s pass.

Japan will look to end their experience in Toulon on a positive note when they face England’s U22s on Friday in the last match of the group stage.

Samurai Blue

Samurai Blue squad for Kirin Cup announced

The Japan Football Association on Thursday announced its squad for the upcoming Kirin Cup 2016, which takes place next month in Aichi and Osaka prefectures.

14 J.League players were selected for the team, including first time call-ups for Jubilo Iwata’s Yuki Kobayashi and Kawasaki Frontale’s Ryota Oshima.

Japan will face Bulgaria on June 3 at Toyota Stadium before playing either Bosnia & Herzegovina or Denmark on June 7 at Suita Stadium.


Japan Squad for Kirin Cup 2016

Goalkeepers

Eiji Kawashima (Dundee United / Scotland)
Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka)
Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds)


Defenders

Yuto Nagatomo (Inter / Italy)
Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds)
Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo)
Maya Yoshida (Southampton / England)
Yuichi Maruyama (FC Tokyo)
Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96 / Germany)
Gotoku Sakai (Hamburger SV / Germany)
Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers)


Midfielders

Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt / Germany)
Yosuke Kashiwagi (Urawa Reds)
Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund / Germany)
Hiroshi Kiyotake (Hannover 96 / Germany)
Yuki Kobayashi (Jubilo Iwata)
Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)
Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds)


Forwards

Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City / England)
Keisuke Honda (AC Milan / Italy)
Yu Kobayashi (Kawasaki Frontale)
Mu Kanazaki (Kashima Antlers)
Genki Haraguchi (Hertha Berlin / Germany)
Takashi Usami (Gamba Osaka)
Takuma Asano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)

Samurai Blue

U23 lose to Portugal in Toulon

The Japan Under-23s’ difficult Toulon Tournament continued on Monday (local time) with a 1-0 loss to Portugal U-20.

A much-changed lineup from the team’s opening loss saw Kashiwa Reysol goalkeeper Kosuke Nakamura, Shimizu S-Pulse defender Genta Miura, and Gamba Osaka midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi amongst others feature from the start.

But the lone goal of the match was scored by Vitoria’s Andre Horta in the 29th minute.

The third match of the competition will see Japan face Guinea U23 on Wednesday, May 25.

Samurai Blue

Japan U-23 squad for Toulon Tournament announced

The Japan Football Association on Friday announced the country’s Under-23 squad for the upcoming Toulon Tournament, which will take place between May 18 and 29 in France.

The list includes 17 J.League players, including midfielder Shinya Yajima (Fagiano Okayama) and striker Cayman Togashi (Yokohama F. Marinos) who scored in the recent U-23 friendly against Ghana.


Goalkeepers

Masatoshi Kushibiki (Kashima Antlers)
Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol)

Defenders

Sai van Wermeskerken (FC Dordrecht / Holland)
Tatsuki Nara (Kawasaki Frontale)
Takuya Iwanami (Vissel Kobe)
Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers)
Masashi Kamekawa (Avispa Fukuoka)
Hiromu Mitsumaru (Sagan Tosu)

Midfielders

Riki Harakawa (Kawasaki Frontale)
Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)
Shinya Yajima (Fagiano Okayama)
Gakuto Notsuda (Albirex Niigata)
Naoki Maeda (Yokohama F. Marinos)
Takuya Kida (Yokohama F. Marinos)
Yosuke Ideguchi (Gamba Osaka)
Takumi Minamino (RB Salzburg / Austria)

Forwards

Yuya Kubo (BSC Young Boys / Switzerland)
Takuma Asano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
Daichi Kamada (Sagan Tosu)
Cayman Togashi (Yokohama F. Marinos)