The knockout phase of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017 began on Tuesday 30 May, and U-20 Japan National Team faced U-20 Venezuela at Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
While the Japanese squad advanced to the knockout phase as one of best four third-placed teams among all the groups, the powerful Venezuelan counterparts claimed the top spot with three straight wins and cruised through the group stage with a stunning performance both offensively and defensively, scoring a total of 10 ten goals and conceding none. Japan made several changes to their starting line-ups and placed FUJITANI So as right fullback, MIYOSHI Koji as left halfback, and TAKAGI Akito, who only had few minutes of playing time coming off the bench, as one of the two forwards.
Conceding early goals had been one of the problem areas for U-20 Japan in the tournament so far, but as NAKAYAMA Yuta later commented, “we were careful not to concede any goals in the first half,” the young Japanese squad defended solidly with high level of concentration against the opponents with many talented players upfront. However, the Venezuelan side still managed to create some scoring chances. In the 5th minute, Adalberto PENARANDA got through on goal with brilliant individual effort, but missed the target and, after 19th minutes, Yeferson SOTELDO reacted well to a through pass, but squandered the golden chance to open the scoring for his side after being denied in a one-on-one chance with Japanese goalkeeper KOJIMA Ryosuke......
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