Monday, June 12, 2006
Japan VS. Australia
Today is Japan's first game of World Cup games in Germany. We're in a very competitive group. We share seats with Australia, Croatia and Brazil. What luck to be in the same group as Brazil... The 1st and 2nd place teams get to go to the finals so basically it is a battle between Croatia, Australia and Japan for the second place spot. 42nd ranked Australia has a very good team this year headed by coach Hiddink who lead Korea to the final 8 in the last World Cup. They are bigger and taller than the Japanese team.
Japan is ranked 17th by FIFA but these rankings mean very little on the field. Anything can happen. Japan has a very disciplined systematic playing style and we take full advantage of penalty kicks. Penalty free kicks will be our key during this tournament and they are usually be kicked by Shunsuke Nakamura who played in Seria A in Italy and now plays for the Celtics in the Premier League. His performance will be a deciding factor. Also if Hidetoshi Nakata plays a solid good game to lead the team, we should have a good chance of winning.
My only concerns are if we can score enough points. Yanagisawa and Takahara will probably start but if they can't deliver we need to put in faster and younger players like Oguro and Tamada at half time.
The game starts at 9:50PM Tokyo time. Go Samurai Blue!