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Friday, 8 August 2008

Sorimachi Japan Crash to Earth in Beijing

The over optimism evident in some quarters after the two recent warm-up games against Australia and Argentina was cruelly revealed as Japan crashed to a 1-0 defeat against the USA last night.

Japan had several opportunities, including a glaring miscue in front of an empty goal by Tokushige, but were unable to convert them. Unless manager Sorimachi, or the players themselves, show some guts and ambition, they look likely to crash out of these Olympics the way Yamamoto Japan did last time. Typically, the manger seemed to blame the players for not producing their best, rather than acknowledge his own failure to prepare them properly.

As always, the problems were up front where Morimoto was ineffective. Japan's forward line looked much more likely to create problems once Yohei Toyoda and Tadanari Lee came on in the second half. Indeed Toyoda should probably have earned a penalty after a tussle with a defender, but he threw himself down rather too theatrically to be convincing. The US also had a much more convincing claim turned down earlier in the game.

If this group fails to even progress to the knockout stage, as seems likely, it will make this the "Wasted Generation", an even bigger indictment of the manager than the inept "coaching" of Yamamoto"s "Valley Generation".

1 comment:

Peter said...

Yesterday's game confirmed my doubts expressed in the message below. One thing I didn't mention in that message was my impression that Sorimachi was too sloppy in his control of the young players with regard to diving. I had noticed in previous games and the friendlies that the young Japanese players were too inclined to dive for a free-kick or a penalty rather than staying on their feet and going for goal. Sorimachi should have cut this out.

This habit came back to haunt Japan last night, especially in the closing stages. Japanese referees are too inclined to penalise a fair but robust physical tackle, and in the J-League players often get away with diving under a vigorous challenge. But this ploy is far less likely to work when the ref is a worldly-wise guy applying international standards. So it proved yesterday evening.

I thought the ref was good, but on several occasions the Japanese players squandered chances by going unnecessarily to ground.

Otherwise overcaution was in evidence and Japan lost out to the US's vigorous hassling in midfield. I still think this Japan side has the talent to do well against Nigeria and the Netherlands; but it has to learn not to waste its talent.