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Friday, 25 July 2008

Aimless Youngsters Squeak Past Aussies

Japan's U-23 Olympic team squeezed past their Australian counterparts 2-1 last night at Kobe. As has been the norm for this team, and indeed its Yamamoto-led predecessors, there was little or no co-ordination to the team's play.

The lack of co-ordination seems to be obligatory for this group, as Australia's goal came as a result of failed attempt to chest-pass to a team mate by Nagoya's normally reliable Maya Yoshida after 30 minutes. The Australians latched onto the loose ball and striker Thompson was given an easy finish.

Apart from this early setback, the defence again looked quite solid. As always, it was the lack of accuracy and imagination in building attacks that makes this team look likely to make an early return from Beijing. This is despite Japan's equalizer coming from a rare piece of skilful interplay by Uchida and Morimoto to setup Cerezo's Kagawa for an easy finish just before half time. However, Morimoto had already wasted a couple of good chances after being put through by VVV's Honda.

A scrappy second half looked destined to see the Australians earn a draw, but a glancing header from Okazaki found its way into the far corner as the clock ran down.

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