Japan Buoyed Ahead Of Colombia Test Despite Late Coach Change
Sumaira FH 4 months ago Fri 15th June 2018 | 12:41 AM
Kazan, Russia, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 15th Jun, 2018 ) :Japan captain Makoto Hasebe promised Thursday that a late change of coach will not damage morale when they begin their World Cup quest against Colombia next week.
"Despite that I think we will cope. We have three tough opponents. But they are not (defending champions) Germany, so we have a chance and we hope we can go further.
"The first game is important. They have players like James Rodriguez and (Radamel) Falcao etc.
"But we have good tactics, and if the whole team pulls together we can get a result." Having arrived in Kazan in central Russia on Wednesday evening, Japan's players spent time with children from the local Russian Premier League club Rubin Kazan before being put through their paces by Nishino at the club's training ground.
Afterwards, most of the focus was on the meeting with Colombia next Tuesday.
Boasting the likes of James Rodriguez, the Bayern Munich striker who was top scorer at Brazil 2014 with six goals, pacey Juventus winger Juan Cuadrado and Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, Colombia are tipped to go at least as far as their quarter-final appearance four years ago, where they lost 2-1 to the hosts.
Japan defender Maya Yoshida, who plays for Southampton, said: "Obviously it's going to be really difficult for us.
"Colombia are a really good team, they're one of the strongest teams in the group, so it's going to be key.
"Shoring up our defensive play as one of our first priorities. We're feeling much better than a couple of weeks ago." After a disastrous campaign in Brazil, Yoshida says he has a personal score to settle.
"I don't want to regret anything like I did at the last World Cup, I want to put everything 100 percent out there," he added.
"I still feel it (the pain) in my heart and my head, so I want to change my memories by making some good results in Russia." Japan left-back Yuto Nagatomo will be key to stopping the likes of Cuadrado, as well as using his pace to help Japan launch counter-attacks down the flanks.
"It will be difficult, but a lot of our players play in Europe, so they're used to the pressure.
"We're doing well, we're confident. I know it will be difficult, but we can do it. Right now, we're focusing on this first game.
"We're ready, we have faith."jd/gj