On Tuesday 19 July, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) played their first fixture of the EAFF E-1 Football Championship 2022 Final Japan against the Hong Kong National Team at Kashima Soccer Stadium. Propelled by the braces scored by SOMA Yuki (Nagoya Grampus), MACHINO Shuto (Shonan Bellmare), and NISHIMURA Takuma (Yokohama F. Marinos), Japan managed to start off the tournament with a 6-0 victory.
Seeking to win the East Asian title for the first time since 2013, Japan entered the match with a 4-2-3-1 formation with SUZUKI Zion (Urawa Red Diamonds) defending the goal behind a defence line formed by YAMANE Miki (Kawasaki Frontale), TANIGUCHI Shogo (Kawasaki Frontale), HATANAKA Shinnosuke (Yokohama F. Marinos), and SUGIOKA Daiki (Shonan Bellmare). FUJITA Joel Chima and IWATA Tomoki, who both play for Yokohama F. Marinos, were named as the two defensive midfielders, while MIZUNUMA Kota (Yokohama F. Marinos) and Soma were placed in the flanks. Machino was named as the lone striker, with Nishimura serving as the attacking midfielder beneath him.
Despite having a fresh set of players, including four out of the starting eleven; Machino, Nishimura, Mizunuma, and Fujita, making their debuts with the SAMURAI BLUE, the team had very limited time to prepare after the squad was assembled on the 17th. But the first goal was scored in the early minutes, triggering a goal spree for the home side. .....
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