Sunday, July 22, 2007

U/20 World Cup Ramble #2

The second U/20 World Cup match that I watched was Japan vs. Scotland. The significance of watch the Japanese kids play is that we (as in Australia) were knocked out of the Asia Cup by the senior mens team.
Monday 2nd July, 2007

I've been enjoying watching the kids far more than the senior South Americans/Central Americans/North Americans. Funny how they are just kids - but they are awesome to watch.

Last night only Japan vs. Scotland was shown. Let me tell you, the Japanese kids were phenomenal to watch. As a result, I worry about the future of our Socceroos.

These Japanses kids love to do things with the ball. Step-overs, all kinds of turns, stepping on the ball... they have great ball skills. And they're not just show-ponies, they can play the ball very well. Japan would is the future of Asian football.

I can imagine Fossie this Sunday on SBS, talking about the ball skills and technical ability of the Japanese. Dad says it's the Brazilian influence - and he must be right. A lot of Brazilians have finished off their professional football careers in the domestic league of Japan. And you can see the influence it's had on the Japanese youth - who are now coming through. Australia had better be afraid. :)

One kid who particularly stood out for me was Miroshima. I'm pretty bad in how I only keep an eye on one player - I suppose it's a fault that I need to eradicate ASAP. A bit like Acosta, it was Miroshima's attitude that attracted me to him.

He had a chance relatively early in the match to volley the ball into goal. He had to do a few things as the ball came from his left and the goal was in front:
  • connect with the ball,
  • change the direction of the ball into goal,
  • avoid the goalkeeper,
  • and maintain some sense of balance while in the air trying to meet the ball.
After all that he missed. But instead of putting his hands up to his head and getting lost in the miss, he smiled (or rather, grinned) about it and carried o. Not to say that he enjoyed the miss, but it was the attitude of, "Oh well, it could've been really something," and getting on with the job at hand.

He ended up scoring Japan's opening goal. A long ball bounced near the Scottish defence, where the centre back completely missed the ball as he tried to clear it. So the ball went on to bother the Scottish 'keeper. Miroshima chased the ball down from the initial bounce. While the 'keeper got to the ball first, Miroshimas presence in the vicinity meant that the 'keeper had no time to muck about with the ball. So he assumed his British ways and smashed the ball forward. Which is exactly where Miroshima was. The ball went directly into the Japanese, bounced off him and went past the 'keeper. Miroshima controlled it and tapped it in.

[I get distracted on this event - I'm going to make it a seperate post to this.]

The match finished with Japan beating the Scots 3-1. The other two Japanese goals were rockets, especially the third - it was too hot for the Scottish 'keeper, who actually got to the ball - but the strength on the shot was too good. The Scottish goal came from a lovely throughball, which was received and shot at goal with. The Japansese 'keeper saved that, but a Scot was there for the second ball. There were also some Japanese defenders nearby, with one on the line who could've stopped it.

I figure he didn't as he might've run into the goalpost in the process. Perhaps he considered the 3-0 lead and thought a possible injury wasn't worth it. Especially this early in the tournament (first match). Although, as Dad correctly pointed out (or argued with me), should the Scots get another goal, we'd suddenly have a very different match on our hands, and that the Japanese shouldn't relax or be comforted in that buffer.

In the end it didn't happen, but I suppose that doesn't make my dad any less right.

And here we have a package of highlights from Youtube. That first Japanese goal still infuriates me. But I'm too tired to write up the post exclusively about that right now. And I'm annoyed at Melbourne Victory too.

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