Halilhodzic Ready to Drop Players Without Regular First-Team Football

Japan national team coach Vahid Halilhodzic has claimed that he will pick players only if they are getting regular first-team football at their respective clubs.

The Bosnian manager recently stunned the national team by dropping players like Shinji Kagawa and Honda from the game against Saudi Arabia. This was an extremely crucial game for the considering that it was one of World Cup 2018 qualification matches. Yet,Halilhodzic had the courage to go these players even though they have more than 150 games combined under their belt.Halilhodzic has seen Honda struggled to get game time at AC Milan while the situation with Shinji Kagawa is also quite similar.

The recent decision from the 64-year-old Bosnian manager may have been done in order to prevent any complacency within the team. Japan have been on a very strong run of form which has seen them move level on points with Saudi Arabia in the qualification group.

They have taken three wins from their opening five matches, but Japan need to build up an even stronger run in order to prevent competition from Australia coming up. UAE and Australia are seen as the main competitors for the final automatic qualification spot from the group.

Incidentally, Japan’s next match will be against UAE away from home. “I keep telling the overseas players that they all have to play more for their clubs. I know they’re all in a difficult situation, but I tell them over and over again that they have to get into the starting line-up or move to a club where they will be able to play. Our team depends on the form of the overseas players and I never imagined the situation that we’ve been in for the past two or three months, where 80 or 90 per cent of our overseas players are not playing,” said Halilhodzic.


A goal from Mile Jerdinak ensured that Japan did not leave with the required three points in a World Cup qualifying match.

Jerdinak scored a penalty to salvage a point for the Socceroos and keep the hopes of making Russia 2018 alive.

Japan were set for a big win after Genki Haraguchi grabbed a fifth minute goal. The first half of the affair proceeded rather slowly after the goal. However, the Socceroos found their way into the game gradually. The Japanese would be unhappy for gifting the Aussies the penalty that led to the equalizer, but would be grateful that they did not concede another. The final twenty minutes of the game saw the Ange Postecoglou-led side chase a possible winner ruthlessly. The transformation came too late for the hosts to get the much wanted match winner.

Australia would be happy that they were able to eventually get a point from the clash with the Samurai Blues but they are likely to lose the top spot in the group. The consolation is that they remain one point ahead of the Japs. They still have a long way to go with six matches and would hope that their fortune get better. They actually started the qualifying campaign with so much confidence but it is not as high now.

Haraguchi got his third in three matches when he intercepted a pass from Trent Sainsbury. It was a one on one chance that he converted well. The Japanese fans came out in their numbers to out-sing locals at the Etihad stadium that housed over 48,000 fans.

Australia played the 4-4-2 formation, adding surprise player Apostolos Giannou to Tomi Juric in the front yet the duo could not breakthrough. As the game went on, they changed formation to 4-3-3.


Japan u-16 national team prepare for last group stage game of AFC U-16 championship hosted by India.

The U-16 Japan National Team, which has built positive momentum with two consecutive wins following their victory in the second group stage match against U-16 Kyrgyzstan, held only one training session in the morning the following day after the game.

The players who had been on the pitch in the match, focused on recovering while the rest of the players practiced in a game format for one hour. Another match in the same group was played, and U-16 Vietnam won against U-16 Australia. As a result, Japan have already secured the top spot in the group and advanced to the next stage after crushing Australia u-16 with a 6-0 big win.

The team’s coach, Moriyama Yoshiro reviewed the two previous games and advice the players to brace themselves. “Your effort brought positive results. But, we haven’t achieved anything yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, Japan have established themselves as the team to beat at the tournament after winning all of their group matches, scoring 21 times in the process, made them outstanding. Japan demolished Vietnam 7-0 in their opening game and continued to dominate as they hammered Kyrgyzstan 8-0.

Japan’s opponents, the United Arab Emirates have had a less spectacular path to the knockout stage, though they are still unbeaten. Despite his side’s perfect record, Japan coach Yoshiro Moriyama has cautioned against complacency.
“Despite our performances in the group stage, we will not be overconfident coming into our quarter-final game, we know that it’s going to be tough. UAE is a difficult team and didn’t lose any games in the group stages and, while we’re happy we won our group, the competition is going to be totally different now that we’re into the knockout phase,” he said.

Asano wants success with Japan

Japanese striker Takuma Asano has stated that he wants success with the Japanese team in the World Cup.

He said that he has made it a personal objective to be a key player in the 2022 World Cup. He believes that Japan will have a good team in 2022, and they could at least reach the semi-final.

Takuma Asano has joined Arsenal in the summer, and he hopes to break into the first-team during the season. He has been part of the team that were involved in the Olympics football tournament, and he will be joining Arsenal in the course of this month.

The Japanese player believes that nothing is impossible and that it is up to the players to make sure they qualify for the World Cup. He said that he would be 28 years old in 2022, and hopefully, he will be a better player by then.

He believes that Japan can make it to the next World Cup in Russia, and he is determined to seize the opportunity to make it to his first ever World Cup. He believes that Japan has a good team and that the players have the necessary experience to make it at the highest level.

Asano said that he looks to players such as Honda and Kagawa for models and that he wants to replicate what they have achieved, He admitted that it would not be easy, but he wants to give his best to help Japan.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated that Takuma Asano has a good potential and that they are looking to develop the player over the next few years. He said that the player had had a good start to his career in Japan, and he is hoping that the player develops in the coming years.


The Japanese team currently in Brazil for the Olympics hope to continue to the quarter finals when they play Sweden in the final round of games in group B.

Japan will face Sweden as they fight for their continued stay at the games, after their last games against Columbia ended 2-2 , giving them a lifeline. Nigeria top the group with maximum points after the second round of games, and have qualified for the next stage. The team to join Nigeria in the next stage is not certain as Nigeria take on Columbia. Columbia have two points after two round of games, Sweden and Japan have one each, leaving the scores of the last round the determinant of who continues to the knockout stage.

Columbia almost joined Nigeria in the next stage when they scored two goals against Japan. However, Japan scored two goals in the second half to change their fate. Forwards Takuma Asano and Shoya Nakajima scored a goal each to give the Japanese a lifeline. From the 18th minute, Columbian striker Miguel Borja scored a brilliant goal from outside the box, beating goal keeper Kosuke Makamura.

Both teams had opportunities in front of goal but they could not convert them. In the second half, Hiroki Fujiharu caused an own goal, giving the South Americans an edge. The Japanese team went to work immediately, and just two minutes later, Asano scored a goal, making it 2-1. Nakajima curled a shot from 25 yards out, making it 2-2 just before the game ended.

Japan would need to defeat Sweden when they meet while hoping Nigeria defeats Columbia, or at best the game ends with a draw. The victory will leave Japan with four points, enough to qualify for the next stage.


Richie Gray is reported to have joined up with the rest of the Scotland squad already in Japan ahead of the planned tour. He is even set to feature in the opening on Saturday.

The 26-year old is expected in the training session to be held on Tuesday, with the final team announced on Thursday.

Gray who is one of only three specialist locks in Scotland’s 27-man squad, along with brother Jonny and Tim Swinson. The American football star player would have to be declared fit by the team’s coach. The assistant coach, Matt Taylor said:

“We will wait to see what mental and physical shape he is in. He has been very good for us lately, so how he turns up will determine whether he comes in to consideration.

“Today’s training is not a full-on session in terms of a lot of the contact, it’s more about organisation. We have a hard session on Tuesday, when the bulk of the work will be done, and we hope he [Gray] will be involved in that.”

Scotland is set to travel to Nagoya on Wednesday 15th June with the first test billed for Saturday, 18th. The team would then travel to Tokyo the nest day with another test on Saturday the 25th. Their opponents, Japan has already warmed up for the tests with their 26-22 victory over Canada in Vancouver at the weekend.

Taylor said the Japanese team is quick to contact and that they try to play a high-tempo game, so their team would have to go out to put up the best performance as the Japs want to put a marker down. Gray played his last match for Castres on Sunday and is set for his move to Toulose next season.


The men’s national football team of Oman exited the second round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, forcing the national coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro to design an elaborate plan to fire up the team which will be free till early next year.

Lopez Caro announced that the team will have a series of domestic and international camps including couple of high-profile international friendly matches so far confirmed in August and November to keep the team in shape.

Lopez Caro anonuced this at a press conference at the Oman Football Association (OFA) headquarters on Monday, adding that the team would play Northern Ireland in the first of the international friendly on August 31 during its camp in Europe from August 17-September 6. They are also scheduled to play another friendly which will be hosted by Asian heavyweight Japan on November 11.

Lopez Caro said:

“My objective to host three domestic camps from June to August is to get a good idea of the new and promising players. I will have a good look and if they impress, then they could join the core group of the existing team.”

The first of the domestic camps will take place from the 1st day to the fifth next month with 26 young players with three players – Khalil al Darmaki (Al Ahli, UAE) Hisham al Shuaibi (Al Arouba) and Abdulaziz al Hosni (Muscat) – called up for the first time to national team. The rest of the players have represented the country in age-group or Under-23 Olympic teams.

The team will also hold a European camp in England or Scotland with friendly match planned during the period against Northern Ireland. The OFA also announced that they are working to ensure the national team play during FIFA days from October 3-11 and November 7-15 to ensure the team bound together and achieve results next year.


Veteran Japanese striker, Yoshito Okubo, scored two goals in making a record 161 career goals.

The goals came in a 4-2 win over FC Tokyo by first-place Kawasaki Frontale. The goals helped the striker rewrite the J-League record books.

The 33-year-old Okubo has now scored five goals in seven games, and has caught the attention of Japan national team coach Vahid Halilhodzic. The forward even with his age and injury worries wants to return to the Japanese national team squad.

In the match against FC Tokyo, the player was stretched off the pitch in the final minutes due to a sore knee but he has returned to training on Monday.

The Japanese national team coach when asked about Okubo’s performance said:

“He is a real goal-getter. It’s a shame he isn’t a bit younger.”

The striker has not had national team action since the 2014 World Cup, but could be recalled for the Kirin Cup slated for this summer. Japan will enter the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in September, playing United Arab Emirates in a bid to qualify for its sixth straight World Cup.

Okubo has been very vocal about his wish to return to national team action for the Japs, but the Coach keeps leaving him out. The prolific striker equaled the all-time scoring record last month when he scored his 157th career goal to match Masashi Nakayama in the Japanese League.

The coach couldn’t ignore the performance of the aging striker anymore when be said:

“Someone like Okubo deserves to be on the team.

“He may be approaching 34 but he continues to score. He has contributed to the national team in the past and gets the job done in the league.

“I may call up 25, 26 players. There could be opportunities for those I haven’t picked before,” the coach said of the player that has picked up the league highest goal scorer for three seasons.

Japan National Team U 17 Celebrates SANIX Cup Win

Images of U-17 Japan National team are all over the media as the team celebrates their win over the Higashi Fukuoka High School. The game was won on a score of 1-0. It was International Youth Soccer Tournament offering the SANIX Cup.

The tournament was not an easy one. It consisted of six games that went on for four days. The last day’s games comprised of a final match between the Higashi Fukuoka High School and U-17 National Team. The high school team won the last season when they participated in the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament. The match saw a lot of viewers as the weather were also excellent. Japan initially faced tough opposition. The defenders focused on the match, it must be continued to swing from one side to another.

Forward player Nakamura Shunta struck out two shots in a superb manner, but these went wide. The opposing team grabbed a second chance to take a shot centrally. This also went amiss as the ball shot over the bar after 23 minutes. In the 28th minute of the game the ball came to the front. Forward player Kubo then sent a pass to the midfielder who was on the right side. He dribbled the ball to the center and sent out a strong shot.

Japan struck an opening shot. This went to the right hand corner. They came under pressure as the opponent team continued to attack. The defense was put up by Japan in the second half and the team could not relax till the last minute of the game. Having won this game, it was a first time for the U-17 team, which has made 14 appearances in the tournament till now. The upcoming tournament is the 20th International Youth Soccer in Niigata.

GianluigiDonnarumma is getting worldwide praise

GianluigiDonnarumma is a 16 year old shot-stopper who has already made a name for himself in the world of football as the youngster has turned into a consistent starter for the Italian club Ac.Milan.

This young player has secured a place in the first team of SinišaMihajlović and this is a fairly impressive accomplishment, especially taking into consideration that Donnarumma has been able to prove his worth and snatched the starting role spot ahead of Christian Abbiati and Diego Lopez who are much more experienced players but SinišaMihajlović has left both of them in the sidelines as GianluigiDonnarumma takes center stage.

Napoli and Manchester United are interested in signing the 16 goal-keeper but it’s unlikely that Ac.Milan will be selling the player who is already being considered to be as: ‘’the future of Italian football’’

“He is and he will remain Milan’s goalkeeper. We have not received any offers for him and if any were to come in, we would turn them down anyway.”Ac.Milan’s Adriano Galliani said as he stated that Donnarumma isn’t leaving the Italian club anytime soon.

Christian Abbiati, Diego Lopez, Mino Raiola, Christian Brocchi, M’BayeNian and even the Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon have all praised GianluigiDonnarumma and believe that the youngster has a bright future lying ahead.

GianluigiDonnarumma himself admitted that he wants to remain with Ac.Milan for the long term which is good news for the Italian club as they are in need of top players who can help in their quest of winning the Serie A which has been out of their reach since the season of 2010-11.

The question that emerges is in relation to GianluigiDonnarumma, is he truly deserving of all the praise that he has been getting?
It’s too early to tell but by managing to get consistent playing time in a top club such as Ac.Milan and stealing that spot away from experienced players is already a feat of it’s own and time will tell if Donnarumma is truly a goalkeeping prodigy.