Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

February 15, 2009

a very late set of random thoughts about aus v japan

Filed under: Football, Life in Japan — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:21 am

all the tactical and footbally stuff has been done on other blogs.  and very very well i might add.  so i can skip that.  partially because having read some good stuff already, i would probably just start copying other bloggers thoughts without realising it …

my thoughts, being there.  it was an exciting night.  the noise from the home end.  even as fans, i think the japanese were up for this one.  the banners.  the loud, catchy, droning chant of “nippon, nippon”.  the ease of access to and from the stadium.  the “go japan” chemical warming bags that were handed out to all fans at the gate … easy access to food and drink – beer vendors walking around the aisles kept food stand lines down …

i was actually impressed with the view i had in what was a multi purpose stadium.  they had covered up the running track, which made it look nicer.  the angle i had, and the distance we were at, made it difficult for me to tell who some of the players were, but i had a great view of the overall play …

the moment of silence was a nice touch.  i appreciated it.  maybe cos i live away from home, the size of the tragedy hasn`t really got through my thick skull, but its had a lot of discussion on the news here, there were collections at the gate for victims.  it was nice.  then onto the anthems and the intros.  the biggest boo at the introductions was reserved for tim cahill.  a mark of respect i guess.  hehe, no, they didn`t bow politely.  the ground gave him the biggest boo.  cos here was the dangerman (or so they thought).  and any time a japanese player took a kicking, a chant of “bullshit” rang around the ground.

whilst the ref called free kicks for some soft contact, we did give them a kick or two, or three.  a couple of strong tackles were also pulled up, as well as an aussie player standing still (and a jap player ran into him and fell over).  i don`t think the japs are into simulation on the whole.  especially holman, he liked kicking people.

it was kinda strange seeing so many of my people.  you kinda forget what aussies are like.  i`ll have to watch some neighbours and aussie idol or whatever to help me adjust before i come back …

i said before, the match was exciting.  watching the japanese attacks down the flanks, (with the odd one down the middle), you were just wondering when the knockout blow would come.  and any free kick near our penalty box was a nailbiter.  and then?  the japanese ran out of puff … and we got the point we came for.  luckily for us, their best striker (imho) didn`t come on till there was 20 or 30 min left. okubo, short, quick powerful, gets the red mist easily.  just moved to the bundesliga.  you also went wow at some of the individual skill shown from midfield and the flanks – the japanese off the ball movement, eye for an incisive pass, and on the ball skill was damn impressive.  the guys in blue shirts made some impressive impressive body swerves ( ? i dunno what you call them, but the guy with ball left the defender absolutely bamboozled).  jesus came on really late.  and did some centre forwardy stuff.  and it was all over.

as a fan, i wasn`t sure how to feel about what i had just seen from my national team.  i felt kinda empty after seeing what my team had dredged up.  do you see the silver lining or the black clouds?  the ground out point which was a realistic goal, or the lack of ambition which felt really yuck?  hell, i can`t even say it was a well defended draw.  i have seen good defending, and this felt more like riding your luck for 90 minutes.  if the japs had composure in front of goal (just like the bahrainis in the last match), we would have been down a couple of goals at the half … they also made some puzzling selections – if okubo had been on at the start of the game, i think he would have bagged the chances that were missed.  our puzzling selections … chippers looked like an older player who had been out injured for the last 2 months, tim cahill looked alone and frustrated, whatever he`s doing in the everton frontline, it wasn`t this.  dukes he ain`t.  bresc only avoided anonymity because his first touch was so heavy … and he`s bald.  holman looked the man most likely to do something for the roos.  should cahill have been in that space?  did we waste our most talented player asking him to do something that he can`t?

japan has more to feel good about after this game, even though they will be frustrated with their inability in front of goal.  a quick look at rising sun news blog lets you see some of their fans frustrations.  and a better picture of  their coaches selection choices.  but as far as skills, smarts, and cajones went, the men in blue had the better of it.  they are bringing young talent through.  we aren`t.  they look the team more capable of making some noise at the next world cup.  but i think it could take a change of coaches to make it happen.  will they pull the trigger this late in the day?

is being at the world cup going to be enough for you?  won`t be for me.  but that is a question for another day.  and it will be discussed again in the coming months.

for now, we can enjoy being in this qualification campaign, playing this level of competition.  the world cup doesn`t just roll around every 4 with a 2 legged playoff to get in anymore.


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