The Samurai Blue trip
to the quarter finals is
twarthed by devils!
Absolutely gutted for the Samurai Blue who seemed to be, through a lively action packed match (especially the 2nd half), on their way into the quarter finals as the only team representing Asia in the World Cup. Unfortunately for them, Belgium finally came out of their complacency (arrogance?) and realised Japan being 2 up meant they were actually a threat and credit to them (once they woke up) fought to equalise and then put the final nail in the coffin in the very last minute of injury time (if there had been extra time, Japan might have had a chance to go ahead again). Ok, the last Japanese decision with that corner was a bad one but they’re human, they make mistakes. A very costly mistake but still a mistake. Poor Honda probably feels like crap today. This will probably be his last world cup as he is already 32 (but who knows?). The players who left the midfield wide open are somewhat culpable as well to be fair to Honda. And the subs could have been brought on earlier to provide fresh legs with some players clearly tiring. The coach did humbly concede that he himself may have lost control of the game but I think, apart from introducing fresh legs – sounds funny like they’re pieces of meat – which he could have done sooner, it is essentially up the players on the field to do the business and Japan did it very well for most of the match.
The expressions on their faces especially the coach. Some of the players were clearly trying not to cry though they would have been entitled to. The coach was just baffled and still trying to work out what happened. The fans were wailing openly (like so many other disappointed fans at that stage). How ironic that Japan acting as a real team were eventually thwarted by one player in particular who does not seem to have much team spirit in the Belgian squad and did not do a whole lot else in the match but ultimately took his chance steaming down to the unfortunately neglected midfield area passing the ball on to someone else before another team mate scored the oh so cruel final goal.
It’s been a cracker of a tournament so far with so many surprises (so glad to see certain big teams out of the running for different reasons) and VAR has been a star in most cases. The last 8 are a more varied bunch. Unfortunately, the lack of an African or Asian team makes it a much less global last 8 (despite the diversity in some of the teams who are still in it) but it’s still somewhat varied in that Spain, Germany, Argentina are all out and former champions Italy aren’t even in the tournament and who knows how far they would have gone either with the quality of the competition we’ve seen.
The rugby world cup is on in Japan next year. As much as I enjoy that, it doesn’t have half the surprise factor of the football world cup (though the one team that shocked last time was of course Japan) and it is a lot more predictable in who makes the final.
I hope the team recovers quickly and does better in the next world cup.