Japan can prove again that they can match it with the “gold standard” of the FIFA World Cup – but will Hajime Moriyasu let them do it?


ahead of the decider in his press conference on Wednesday before the match 2022 fifa world cup Group E clash against former champions spain, Japan Coach Hajime Moriyasu once again expressed his admiration for European football.

Moriyasu describes it as “the gold standard in the world”.

just last week, in their tournament opener against GermanyMoriyasu had admired the influence of German football on the development of his game, with several Japanese players – including eight of the current team – plying their trade. BundesligaWhere they have undeniably improved as footballers.

Being polite and showing respect for the opposition is not a bad thing. It is a common and well-regarded quality in Japanese culture, and Europe has indeed been the standard bearer for world football for decades.

The big issue with Moriyasu’s continued rise to European football – and his overgeneralization, given that some of the continent’s teams have been poor this World Cup – is that it borders on becoming an inferiority complex for what could have been his players. Thinking they are already beaten before the opening whistle.

This in itself would not be so disappointing if not for the fact that Japan already has Came from behind to beat Germany 2-1 a week ago.

It may be a bit confusing for Moriyasu to tell his players to “believe in themselves” that they can beat Spain, but then claim that “we are trying to catch up (and) are still very There’s something to be learned”.

By choosing to put the opposition on a pedestal, Moriyasu is failing to show his own players the respect they deserve.

Of the 26 players he called up for the tournament, only five had never plied their trade in Europe before.

They brag like 100-cap legends Maya Yoshida And uto nagatamoPlayers who have played and are still playing for some of the biggest clubs in the world armory Protector takehiro tomiyasu and pre-liverpool Man Takumi Minaminoand rising stars takefusa kubo, kaoru mitoma And ritsu don,

The team that beat Germany should have easily taken three more points against them Costa Rica On Sunday, that would have been enough to seal their spot in the Round of 16 with one game remaining.

Instead, whether it was from again showing too much respect to their opponents or just Moriyasu’s risk-averse ways, even in matches where they are clear favourites, Japan were tentative and passive. .

they lacked effort and invention, and they were ultimately Hit with a sucker punch in the 81st minuteThat pulled them back into a crowded four-horse race for Group E’s two qualifying berths.

It cannot be denied that Japan — and Asia’s other representatives — are still some way from consistently matching the level of perennial challengers such as Spain and Germany, and even France, Brazil And Argentina,

But in a tournament environment, especially one like the World Cup where the upsets are never too far away, Samurai Blue could easily surprise powerhouses like Spain over 90 minutes.

They have already done this against Germany.

Now if only Moriyasu put his money where his mouth is when he tells his charges to show confidence in themselves, sending them out with the system and their intentions to beat Spain and claim their place in the knockout rounds By displaying equal confidence from.

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