Spirit of Samurai Redemption in Japan-Croatia Match Tonight
6 December 2022 00:20 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Japan's national football team will invoke the spirit of the Samurai warrior as they battle Croatia for a spot in the last 16 tonight, December 5. Takuma Asano and his mates will seek to erase the bad memory from four years ago when they had to exit the World Cup after failing to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.
The Samurai Blues' veteran defender Yuto Nagamoto is still haunted by their 2-0 defeat from Belgium in 2018 during added time. He said that the team needs this redemption.
"I have never forgotten about that battle against Belgium. Sometimes scenes from the match suddenly come back to me and the last four years have been very tough," he said yesterday as Reuters reported.
However, Nagamoto believes the team has grown mentally as well as physically, saying that the current team the best and the strongest that has ever competed for Japan at the World Cup as far as he could see.
Nagatomo also believes Japan have the most united team at the World Cup. He said that he uses the analogy of the Samurai, who before going battle polish their weapons and try to improve their techniques.
"I would really very much like to showcase how courageously we are fighting."
Japan made two victorious comeback wins against Germany and Spain to top their group and sent the Germans home. Tonight, the Samurai Blues are eager to have their first last-16 win for the first time in the last four World Cups.
"We have had a lot of experience and we are going to use all the lessons that we have learned to play the match tomorrow, all the things that we have done as a football nation," the Samurais' coach Hajime Moriyasu said.
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