On Thursday 23 May, the U-20 Japan National Team faced the U-20 Ecuador National Team in their first group stage match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019. Despite conceding a goal in the first half, the team came back with a goal scored by YAMADA Kota in the 68th minute to start off the tournament with a 1-1 draw.
In their tournament opener, Japan started a line-up featuring WAKAHARA Tomoya in goal with the defence line formed by SUGAWARA Yukinari, SEKO Ayumu, KOBAYASHI Yuki, and HIGASHI Shunki. SAITO Mitsuki and ITO Hiroki played as the defensive midfielders while GOKE Yuta and Yamada Kota were positioned in the flanks. SAITO Koki and TAGAWA Kyosuke were the strikers named to play upfront.
The two sides showcased an equally matched bout in the early minutes of the first half, as both sides created close opportunities, but it was Ecuador who gradually took control of the match. With Ecuador applying more pressure upfront, Japan defended patiently to keep the clean sheet, but the deadlock was broken just before the end of the first half. The goal came in the 45th minute, when Ecuador earned a freekick in the right side. Japanese goalkeeper Wakahara responded to the delivery and made the effort to parry the ball out of the goal area, but the ball deflected off his teammate Tagawa and bounced into the goal......
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