The quarterfinals of the Games of the XXXII Olympiad (Tokyo 2020) men's football tournament took place on Saturday 31 July. At Ibaraki Kashima Stadium, the U-24 Japan National Team faced the U-24 New Zealand National Team.
In their first match of the knockout stage, Japan named HAYASHI Daichi (Sagan Tosu) as the lone striker, with SOMA Yuki (Nagoya Grampus) starting as the left midfielder. HASHIOKA Daiki (Sint-Truidense V.V.) also started as the right full-back to replace SAKAI Hiroki (Urawa Red Diamonds) who is suspended for the match. New Zealand on the other hand started with a 5-3-2 formation, which TOMIYASU Takehiro (Bologna FC 1909) later reflected, “We were anticipating for a one-top formation, so it was unexpected.”
The three New Zealand midfielders kept a close eye on the Japanese attackers, containing them from building up the offence, as ENDO Wataru (VfB Stuttgart) described, “They were playing almost man-to-man.” .....
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