Oct 15, 2008

前途多難 - It's going to be a rough ride...

今日はワールドカップ2012予選、日本対ウズベキスタンを埼玉スタジアムに見に行った。

会社を定時で出て浦和美園駅には6時40分に着いたものの、食べ物で大失敗。フィッシュアンドチップスなら早いだろうと思ったのが大誤算。この店の親父がまぁ手際が悪いこと悪いこと。サッカー場周辺も向いてないけど、あれじゃ都内のビジネス街のランチは無理だね(笑)。そのお陰で選手のウォームアップはおろか国歌斉唱も見れなかった。キックオフには間に合ったのが唯一の救いだった。

いや~ぁ、それにしても結果はおろかお粗末な内容の試合になりました。予選第一戦でのエラー、この間の親善試合でのエラー、そこから何も学べてない。国際レベルでパスを出した途端集中切らすとか、まったくプレッシャーない状態でパスミスするとか、普通では考えられないけど、それが90分を通してずっと出ていた。

とにかく中盤が弱すぎる。長谷部と遠藤が真ん中を担ってたけど、彼らが何をしているのかが僕にはまったく理解できなかった。五分五分のボールをとりにいくわけでもなく、ディフェンダーからボールを貰いに行って前に持って行くわけでもなく、攻撃に積極的に参加するわけでもなく。ことあるごとに攻撃の際に真ん中が完全にすっからかんな時が多かった。

ゴールキーパーの楢崎もやっぱり安心して見ていられない。どう見てもキーパーボールのものも取りにいかず、ディフェンスにプレッシャーがないときにトゥーリオと中沢に声かけるわけでもなく結局ディフェンダーは相手にボールをあげたり。まぁ、これが理由で川口がポーツマスで大失敗したのをいい例に、これは楢崎だけでなく日本のゴールキーパーみんなが抱える問題だけど。

そしてサイドバック。全然オーバーラップして攻撃をサポートしたりっていうのがない。突っ立ってボール見てるばっかりが目立った。ホームでの試合だって言うのにアウェーの試合を見てるみたいだった。

あんまりネガティブばっかりでも仕方がないので、という訳ではないけど、玉田のドリブルにしろシュートにしろ切れの良さ、そして香川のボックス内へのボールはなかなか良かった。中盤まで下がってボールを取りに行くの機会が多かった玉田、それもあって疲れてしまったんだろうけど、最後までピッチに立ってて欲しかった。

俊輔はパスミスとボールを取られる機会が結構目立ったかな。ということで、彼が「Man of the Match」賞取ったり、マスコミが「俊輔のディフェンスを切り裂くパスが目立った」っていうコメントには疑問というか唖然とした。

もっと大事なのが、僕には岡田監督がどんなサッカーをしたいのかが理解できない。結局は監督の戦術で決まってしまう。

こんな内容ではオーストラリア戦はかなり厳しいかな。前途多難です。

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I went to see the 2012 World Cup qualifier between Japan and Uzbekistan at Saitama Stadium.

Although I managed to leave the office on time and arrived at the nearest railway station at 6:40PM, we made a schoolboy error with food. We thought fish and chips would be quick, but how wrong were we?! The chap running the shop was sooooooooo bloody slow and precise. I don't think he should be running business outside of football stadium, but I don't think he would survive doing business at lunchtime in downtown Tokyo either. :-) Thanks to his "meticulous" approach to food, we missed the national anthem let alone players' warm-up. It was huge relief that we managed to see the game from kick-off.

Well, well, well... what an abysmal performance that was while it was a hugely disappointing result against the mighty Uzbekistan. Japan didn't learn from the mistakes in the first qualifier and the recent friendly match. It's unthinkable at international level that players lose concentration after passing the ball and players make awful passes under no pressure. But these were highlights of the game tonight.

Our central midfield is weak. Hasebe and Endo played in central midfield tonight, but I couldn't understand what they were doing in that area. They weren't picking up a ball in 50-50 situation, they weren't getting a ball off defender and bringing it up the field, and they weren't supporting our strikers while we were attacking. We had lots of situations where central midfield is "empty" when we were attacking in Uzbekistan's half.

I really cannot trust our goalkeeper Narasaki. He never went to collect a ball that was clearly goalies', while he never gave any shouts to our central defenders Turio and Nakazawa when they can take time that resulted in their giving away possession far too cheaply. Having said that, as Kawaguchi failed miserably playing for Portsmouth for these reasons, these are problems with all our national side's goalkeepers.

And side-backs. They were so unwilling to overlap and support our attacking force. They were just ball-watching. For goodness sake, we were playing at home!

It's not that I don't want to go on writing negatives, but there were some positives. Tamada was very sharp going past Uzbekistan players and having a go at the goal. Kagawa's crosses were also very decent from the wing. Although he must have been tired trying to get the ball by going back to the halfway line, I would have loved to see him on the pitch until the end of the game.

Nakamura had a lot of unsuccessful passes and lost posession quite often. So I was very surprised to see him getting 'Man of the Match' award and also the media going on about 'Nakamura split Uzbekistan's defense on many occasions'. It's beyond belief.

More importantly, I really cannot see what kind of football the manager Okada wants us to play. It boils down to manager's tactics.

With this kind of performance or style of play, the games against Australia will be very tough. It's going to be a very rough ride...



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