Thursday, June 10, 2010

2010 World Cup Group E Head To Head

Japan enters Group E with a run of four consecutive defeats in their World Cup preparations. Generally, that's good news as it means that the players are peaking at the right time i.e. just before the World Cup. With talent like Yasuhito Endo, Shunsuke Nakamura and Keisuke Honda, Japan has the technical ability to compete with Cameroon and Denmark.

The four teams have not faced each other too much in the last years, and with this reasoning, the coaches will instruct their charges to "go for it" i.e play to win. To play to win, this means employing an attacking football style.

Japan's best-known foreign export, Keisuke Honda believes that attacking football is the key to the knockout phase. This is what he spoke to Hide Nakata as posted in Soccernet World Cup Blogs.
Honda’s play at the World Cup (from Soccernet)
What kind of play do you want to do at the World Cup?
Honda: It’s my first time. I wondered during the Champions League how nervous I’d get at the World Cup. I tried to make myself nervous on purpose before the games by telling myself, if we lose we’re out. I thought, then I could learn to control my nervousness during the World Cup. For me, it’s exciting. Preparation is everything. Do I have what it takes to score against Cameroon? Who knows? But in myself I do believe I have the ability. If I or the strikers don’t score who’s going to score? That’s how I think. Let’s quickly get forward instead of staying back. Let’s quickly take shots when the game starts. Score like you did against Juventus (when Nakata was with Roma). If I see a small opening I’ll shoot. How many times will I be able to get that shot? I have a feeling over 90 minutes this could possibly turn into one or two goals, hopefully. People watching will probably say, “You suck!" and "Why don’t you pass to the open forward?!” I know you’re supposed to pass to the open player. That’s the “correct” thing to do… But, I don’t think we can play pretty soccer. I know ideally we want to play the Japanese style of soccer, but maybe we will only go in front of the goal twice. People say don't take too many risks, but I’m afraid of not taking risks. Isn’t it a bigger risk not to take risks? What’s the point if we don’t take risks?

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