Japan head coach Yoshiro Moriyama is realistic about the gulf between his players and the England team ahead of their FIFA U-17 World Cup pre quarterfinal but promised to be worthy challengers in-front of sell-out Salt lake Stadium.
“We want to be the challengers and we will show what we have and do our best. I am sure we have players, who can do that,” Moriyama asserted on the eve of their pre-quarterfinal.
In fact Moriyama accepted that if valuation of an English junior like Jadon Sancho is 20 million pound, his Japanese counterparts may be worth a million as of now.
“Many of the English players play in Germany, English Premier League or training with top teams. Going by the market value of players they would be worth 20 million pound while it would be 1 million for Japanese players,” the veteran Japanese coach told reporters.
But football is played on the field and so these things would hardly matter after kick-off. “Football is not about that. We can play and work as a group and things we can do more on the pitch. Sometimes you have to be realistic. All of them can decide on what they want
to do on the pitch looking at the situation tomorrow.”
“For some of our boys, to play in such a huge stadium with high attendance is a first time and valuable experience. At this stage, I want the my players to be excited to show that on the pitch.”
Japan’s progress to the round-of-16 has not been convincing as they lost to France 1-2 and were held to an agonising 1-1 draw against New Caledonia in their last outing to give a first World Cup point to the tiny pacific island.
Blaming the fatigue factor in the energy-sapping humid conditions, Moriyama said: “It was heat and humidity that made it difficult. Players found it difficult to breathe plus there was a lot of crowd. Definitely, this was a big experience for the players.”
The Japanese coach is of the opinion that the stadium pitch which will host the summit clash on October 28 has had some wear and tear but they have had no problem and looking forward to play the pre-quarters in front of 60,000-plus crowd.
“There has been enough watering on the pitches so far, it might be a little bit worse that how it behaved in the first match. But we have no problem it’s in good condition.”
Japan captain Shimpei Fukuoka is confident that they would do well against the Young Lions despite odds being heavily stacked against them.
“We want to play with confidence and be pro-active on the field. We are challengers. The first goal was to advance into the knockouts. We could have won the third match (against New Caledonia). Against England, we will have a tough time,” he concluded.