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» One Touch Football - Archive » Football » Japan 2008 (Page 5)

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Author Topic: Japan 2008
Furtho
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Uh - it says Bochum, not Wolfsburg, UA...?

The Koji Nakata injury is all a bit of a mystery - a nothing-looking challenge in midfield by the YBB guy. This video clip would suggest he got a knee in the ribs, but the contact appears really slight when you consider how serious the injury turned out. Very puzzling.

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ursus arctos
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Erm, no. It says:

quote:
he immediately chipped in with two assists as Wolfsburg came from behind to win 2-1
though without your trademark bolding of team names.

It would appear that Nakata bis may have glass ribs, which would be quite debilitating for a footballer.

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Furtho
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Gah, you are of course right.
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Furtho
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After their recent Kirin Cup draw with Chile and win over Bosnia Herzogovina, the Japanese national team got down to business on Wednesday night with a 4-1 victory over Thailand in their first WC2010 qualifying tie at a snowy Saitama Stadium. Coach Takeshi Okada elected to play a little-and-large partnership up front with pint-sized Yoshito Okubo of Vissel Kobe alongside new Urawa Reds signing Naohiro Takahara, but it was Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo who opened the scoring from a free kick on twenty minutes.

Sensationally, in a rare attacking move Thailand equalised almost immediately and it wasn't until ten minutes in the second half that the hosts regained the lead through Okubo after a disastrous error in the Thai defence. Yokohama F Marinos defender Yuji Nakazawa headed a third - his thirteenth goal in a Japan shirt - and substitute Seiichiro Maki of JEF United wrapped things up right at the end. The next World Cup fixture is against Bahrain at the end of March, although in a couple of weeks' time a Japanese squad will participate in the distinctly unappetising four-way East Asian Championship with hosts China, North and South Korea.

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The travelling Thai army


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Yuji Nakazawa makes it 3-1


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Woohoo! Ganbare Nippon

[ 06.02.2008, 15:27: Message edited by: Furtho ]

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Furtho
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"Who is that masked man?" That's probably what supporters of Shonan Bellmare are asking themselves, after a mysterious figure clad in a grey suit and a plastic frog mask was seen around the club's offices on Thursday!

Well, anyway, God knows what this is all about; a bizarre publicity thing dreamt up by some poor loon in Shonan's marketing department, one assumes. The character's by all accounts called To J1 Frog Maskman. Bonkers is what I call it.

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There are 31 days to go to the start of the season - of course

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Furtho
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A couple of rather ropey views of two more team shirts for the 2008 J-League season. I'm liking the Nagoya Grampus away shirt a fair amount - but Yokohama FC having bafflingly elected to go along with something very similar to last year's badly-tuned-old-telly effort, following their relegation back to J2.

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Nagoya: red = Home, white = Away, black = Goalkeeper


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Yokohama FC say cheese

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Furtho
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With less than a month to go until the start of the 2008 J-League campaign, most J1 and J2 teams are now away from their home towns and cities on pre-season training camps. The American-owned Pacific island of Guam is a popular destination, although lots of clubs - including Jubilo Iwata and Ventforet Kofu - opt for Kyushu, at this time of year the warmest of Japan's four main islands. While the teams are based in their communities, it's common for the local people to thank them for coming, to express support and generally get behind the players, as depicted in the photos below.

Meanwhile at the weekend, J2 outfit Mito Hollyhock and their main sponsor K's Electronics held a promotional event at K's flagship store in Mito, at which singer-songwriter Eco performed the club song. Three players were also interviewed in front of the 100 or so fans who attended. The interviewer concentrated on light-hearted questions, asking the players their impressions of Mito.

Team captain Daishi Hiramatsu said that since coming to the club he had learned that the city was an easy place to take a girl out on a good date, while new signing from Urawa Reds Takafumi Akahoshi said that although Mito seemed a comfortable town in which to live, he was disappointed that the team's training camp was just round the corner from where he grew up in Shizuoka. Teenage striker Mitsuru Mansho observed that high school girls in Mito wore their skirts shorter than in any other city in Japan.


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Hundreds of paper cranes made in support of Jubilo


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Kofu shirts in a rural convenience store near their camp HQ

[ 13.02.2008, 09:42: Message edited by: Furtho ]

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Furtho
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Sunday sees the start of the finals of the 2008 East Asian Football Championship, a competition organised by an East Asian Football Federation that counts among its members the likes of Guam, Mongolia and Chinese Taipei. Takeshi Okada's Japan, South Korea and hosts China qualify by... well, by being the biggest three teams in the region, while North Korea make up the final quartet as a consequence of having won the qualifying tournament that was staged in Macau last summer.

The format is a simple round-robin group (i.e. no Semi-Final or Final), which means that everywhere you look there is a potential - nay likely - crunch match. Indeed, although coach Okada is looking upon the competition as a means of preparing for his team's World Cup qualifying programme, many Japanese fans regard the East Asian Championship as little more than an opportunity for a bout of Japan-bashing by the media, supporters, players and even referees of their mainland neighbours and rivals.

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A mouthwatering view of the qualifier between Guam and Chinese Taipei, no less


This is the third time that the Championship has been staged, following the demise of the old Dynasty Cup. Japan hosted the first finals in 2003, although they were pipped to the title on goals scored by South Korea and then finished runners-up to China in 2005 in South Korea. Here are the fixtures for this year's finals:

Sun 17 Feb: China - South Korea
Sun 17 Feb: Japan - North Korea

Wed 20 Feb: China - Japan
Wed 20 Feb: North Korea - South Korea

Sat 23 Feb: Japan - South Korea
Sat 23 Feb: China - North Korea

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Furtho
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In Sunday's first round of matches in the 2008 East Asian Football Championship, being staged in the Chinese city of Chongqing, the hosts conceded a goal in injury time to go down 3-2 to South Korea. Later on in the evening, North Korea took a fifth-minute lead against Japan thanks to a shot from the edge of the area by striker Chong Tae Se - who was born in Nagoya and plays for Kawasaki Frontale in the J-League.

It wasn't until midway through the second half that substitute Ryoichi Maeda of Jubilo Iwata levelled things up for a weak Japanese side that looked ill-equipped to cope with the hostile atmosphere and the peculiarities of playing against North Korea with a South Korean referee. The next games are on Wednesday, when the Koreas play each other and Japan take on China. Oh joy.

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Ryoichi Maeda equalises for Japan against North Korea

[ 20.02.2008, 16:42: Message edited by: Furtho ]

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Furtho
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Wednesday saw the second pair of matches in the East Asian Football Championship currently being held in China. Japan bounced back from their disappointing draw with North Korea to beat the hosts 1-0 in a controversy-packed encounter, while the Koreas drew 1-1, Kawasaki Frontale's Chong Tae Se scoring his second in two games to equalise for the North.

In the earlier of Wednesday's games, it was Yokohama F Marinos midfielder Koji Yamase who netted the first-half winner for a Japan side that was booed ceaselessly by a volatile home crowd - and also had to contend with a series of refereeing decisions that can most charitably be described as "surprising". Japanese onlookers were aghast when a number of apparent assaults on the men in blue went unpunished.

Most spectacularly, Chinese keeper Zong Lei of Changchun Yatai delivered an aerial kick to the stomach of young Gamba Osaka striker Michihiro Yasuda, to be given only a yellow card - and Kashima Antlers' Yuzo Tashiro was the victim when his late goal was wrongly ruled out for offside. And so the tournament - for which the enthusiasm of the Japanese public could scarcely be much lower - will end on Saturday with what is likely to be the decider between Japan and South Korea, although North Korea could still pinch it.

The current group standing is as follows:

1. South Korea 4 (+1)
2. Japan 4 (+1)
3. North Korea 2 (-)
4. China 0 (-2)

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Yasuda takes it in the tum

[ 21.02.2008, 09:30: Message edited by: Furtho ]

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ursus arctos
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Hmmm.

Is Toni Schumacher working in China? I thought he was still at Leverkusen.

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Furtho
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It certainly bears comparison, UA. There's a lot of Japanese anger about that incident and the whole atmosphere surrounding the tournament - a lot of people seem to want Japan to withdraw from future editions, believing that there can be no such thing as a fair contest involving those four teams if it's staged in China or Korea.

However, while the national team battle onwards in the East Asian Football Championship, a Gamba Osaka squad are now in Hawaii as J-League representatives in the first ever Pan-Pacific Championships, alongside Sydney FC from the A-League and MLS sides Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy. Perhaps surprisingly, there does exist a modest amount of Japanese interest in the competition - and not only because it gives the media an opportunity to use the words J-League and David Beckham in the same sentence.

The reason is because there is some enthusiasm to establish how these developing leagues match up in terms of quality, Japan being especially keen to measure itself against global opposition rather than other Asian teams. That said, the fact that the Pan-Pacific Championships are more or less a "by invitiation" tournament makes it hard to draw realistic comparisons - Gamba, for example, only finished third in the 2007 J-League and are in Hawaii with a first team lacking seven probable J1 starters, who are all on international duty.

The format of the competition is that of a mini knock-out, with two Semi-Finals on Wednesday followed by a Final and a 3rd / 4th Place Play-off this Saturday. Gamba won the tournament opener against the Galaxy, former Omiya Ardija and Ventforet Kofu striker Bare scoring the only goal after only three minutes with a typically powerful run and shot. The J-Leaguers will meet Houston in the Final, after a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Sydney.

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Bare does over Becks

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ursus arctos
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The degree to which an increasingly aggressive form of nationalism appears to be becoming more common in Asian sport is an interesting (and troubling) phenomenon, and one that will bear monitoring at the Beijing Olympics (though the control-freak authorities are surely aware of the issue and will try to contain it).

It is also pretty remarkable that this ersatz tournament in Hawaii features on no fewer than three threads at the moment (this one, the MLS one and the A-League one). Everyone seems to agree that Sydney were awful.

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Furtho
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My understanding, UA, is that the government did put out messages that the home fans were to behave respectfully. This clearly did not have any effect. There's a Youtube clip entitled "China's unfair play, 2008-02-20. Can you believe?" here, with the Schumacher-esque lunge from the keeper at 1 min 33' and Tashiro's disallowed goal at 4 mins 15'. More cheerfully, a Youtube clip of Chong Tae Se's goal for North Korea against South Korea is here.

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Ouch


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Li Weifeng extends the hand of friendship to Keita Suzuki

[ 21.02.2008, 13:15: Message edited by: Furtho ]

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ursus arctos
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Jesus Christ.

That may actually be worse than Battiston. For one thing, he's nowhere near the ball and doesn't even react to its flight, he just does his Bruce Lee imitation on Yasuda. And the rest has elements of a dalliance horror reel of two footed assaults.

I would have been sorely tempted to pull my team off the field if I had been the Japanese coach. China should have been down to 9 after the assault on Yasuda.

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