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Friday, 28 March 2008

Toyoda Presses Case for Olympic Slot

Former Nagoya forward Yohei Toyoda, now plying his trade in Yamagata, scored Japan's goal in a 1-1 draw with Angola yesterday. This saw the Japan U-23 team take on the full national team of Angola and put on a lively display, with some neat passing and good movement off the ball. However, a generally impressive performance was marred by a failure to capitalize on their superiority over the Africans and eventually conceding an equalizer near the end. Although the 1-1 draw against a full national side looks a reasonable result on paper, Japan will need to improve its accuracy and show better strategic planning if it is to make a challenge for an Olympic medal.

The game saw several key players for the Olympic squad rested, or missing through injury, including Keisuke Honda (VVV) and Koki Mizuno (Celtic), and Sota Hirayama (FC Tokyo). While Yohei showed enough industry and netted Japan's goal, manager Sorimachi will have a tough choice between choosing between the hard-working Toyoda and the more skillful, but erratic Hirayama. Despite an encouraging and industrious display from Japan's midfield yesterday, it is seems unlikely that either Honda or Mizuno will miss out on the chance of Olympic glory. Neither is quite as consistently accurate as they should be, but both can provide an improvement on the woeful free-kicks and corners displayed last night.

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