- FIFA investigating Rhian Brewster’s racism complaint during FIFA U-17 World Cup Final
- FIFA U-17 World Cup find Dheeraj Singh has trial offers from multiple clubs, including Scotland’s Motherwell, reveals agent
- PM Narendra Modi interacts with India U-17 football team, says no life without sports: Watch video
Japan coach Yoshiro Moriyama said his players are “eager and hungry” to get back to winning ways and storm into the pre-quarterfinals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup when they play debutants New Caledonia.
Having started off with a 6-1 humiliation of Honduras, Japan slumped to 1-2 defeat against France in their last outing.
“We need to win in order to go to the next round. Some of our players are eager and hungry to play on the pitch,” Moriyama told reporters on the eve of their match.
“We started the tournament well but we had learnt some good lessons in our game against France. We will use those lessons in the next match,” he added.
Asked whether he would rest his key players against a team who have conceded 13 goals in two matches, Moriyama said: “We will have some new players and the ones who have played in last match. There will be a mix of both.”
The coach further said he would like to take every match as a final in the knockout stage.
“Once we are in knock-out, we will treat every match like a final. We will go one game at a time thinking of that game as the final.”
Japanese midfielder Naoki Tsubaki said they would like to get back their winning momentum in the match against New Caledonia.
“It’s an important match to get to the knock-out stage and get the momentum back in the side. We want a good show and the atmosphere in the side is good.”
If they qualify, Japan are likely to face England in the pre-quarterfinals.
“England are a strong team with strong individuals. But we believe in our strengths and we can play a good game. We are focused on our football,” he said.