On Friday 9 October, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) played in an international friendly match against the Cameroon National Team at Utrecht, Netherlands. With the effects of the ongoing corona pandemic, the match was their first match played in nearly a year and for the first time in Japan National Team history, the squad was selected only from players who currently plays in Europe.
Since November, the Japan National Team has not played a single match with their players playing in Europe, and with the Asian qualification rounds of the FIFA World Cup fast approaching in March, this match represented a wonderful opportunity for them to polish their team form. In the starting line-up, ANZAI Koki (Portimonense S.C.) was named as the left fullback to make his first start since March 2019, while NAKAYAMA Yuta (PEC Zwolle) started as the defensive midfielder since he last started in June 2019.
The match kicked-off with Japan applying aggressive pressure from the frontline, but the team could not create any attacking threats, as they struggled to find their rhythm in the early minutes. Japan gradually picked up their pace, as MINAMINO Takumi (Liverpool FC) struck a shot in the 19th minute, followed by a set-piece taken in the 21st minute, where YOSHIDA Maya (U.C. Sampdoria) connected with a delivery from SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille), but the attempts were denied by the opposing GK. .....
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