Yours is no disgrace, World Cup Japan Team. Otsukare. I hope the J media does not spin this as a loss.


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I just wanted to say before retiring for the night that tonight’s Japan-Paraguay game for the Top Eight was excellent.  Japan played very well (and also quite fairly — I was rather unimpressed with how often Paraguay’s players went for people’s legs instead of the ball), and coming down to a 0-0 draw after two overtimes is testament to how well Japan played.  Penalty kicks (Para 5 Japan 3, with Japan going second so no chance to make it 5-4) are the luck of the draw, in my opinion, and it could have gone either way, the teams were so well matched.

Now I’m worried about how the Japanese media is going to digest this.  We already have Manager Okada apologizing for not having enough power to achieve his “Best Four” goal (but so what — the current team is streets ahead of any other World Cup team Japan has ever fielded; ergo coaching power aplenty).

I’m afraid we’re going to get the loss viewed through the Nihonjinron Lens of the high-pressure Japanese media, with excuses about some sort of innate Japanese superiority/inferiority (as I mentioned last time I blogged on this topic the other day), and how this loss is representative of something.

Look, it’s just a game.  This time a great series of games done by a great team that just lost out thanks to one ball getting through at the very end.


Again, well done Japan Team, well done Okada.  お疲れさまでした。Arudou Debito in Sapporo

9 comments on “Yours is no disgrace, World Cup Japan Team. Otsukare. I hope the J media does not spin this as a loss.

  • Mark Hunter says:

    Well, if you don’t score, it means you have a problem in the balance between your midfield and forward lines. Japan has never had a history of aggressive, creative true strikers. Honda’s good two weeks don’t erase that history. Until kids are taught to be much more creative, less group-oriented, and allowed (and this is crucial) allowed to take risks, the odds of a Japanese team advancing further are rather slim. I will give great credit to Japan’s defense, however. I also thought Okada was about as inspiring as lettuce. Paraguay is a tiny country about the same size as the Osaka area in terms of population. ‘Nuff said.

    — And I thought I asked for people not to see this loss as representative of anything! 🙂

  • Agreed. I thought they played well, even more so when you consider the state of domestic football. Nihon should be pround….look at France and Italy, previous and current champs, both knocked out of the first round!!

    — The sport would get boring if the same old champs were always in the championship rounds, so good.

  • I haven’t seen any media coverage of the sort yet. Most all of it has been of the “Japan put forth their best effort” nature, with very few complaints of any sort, even against Komano.

    Neither team deserved to win that match, so the lottery nature of the PK round was the perfect way to end it. I really doubt that Paraguay will be able to overcome Spain in the same manner, but I won’t be watching it anyway. Enough with the sleep deprivation already!

  • jjobseeker says:

    South American defense is notoriously aggressive, relying on the slide tackle heavily. Chile was worse than Paraguay in this WC. Had the “pleasure” of experiencing this myself when some Argentinian chaps joined the weekly Sunday friendly soccer games my former co-workers used to hold. Man, they played hard. Good. But hard. We turned out to be a little too “sensitive” for them and they stopped coming after about 3 weeks.

    Anyway, agree with Mark Hunter 100%. And imagine this. The fans were asking for Okada to step down as the team’s record became more and more miserable prior to WC. Then came this tourney and now everyone loves him… too bad same can’t be said for a certain PM.

  • One of the most boring games of the worldcup. Neither Japan nor Paraguay showed a lot of skill there. But I was also wondering how theJapanese media will digest this. Do the commentators analyze matches critically?

  • @Marco:
    Boring is par for the course for Paraguay.

    Back on topic, TBS was crazy enough to interview Komano’s mother and had her apologize on TV:

    That’s as low as it gets. I can’t even find words to describe this, TBS should be ashamed. Not even Trezeguet got this kind of treatment for missing his penalty kick in the 2006 finals, nor Zidane for getting sent off. In fact, they laughed it off:

    Square Enix Honcho Calls World Cup Interview “Deplorable”
    Last night, Japan played valiantly against Paraguay. The game was 0-0 after extra time causing the victor to be settled by penalty kicks. Paraguay made all its shots. Japan, however, did not.

    The player who missed his shot was defender Yuichi Komano. He was the third player to shoot on the Japanese side, and his kick was too high, hitting the goal post.

    So what did the Japanese media decide to do? Just as the sting of the loss is still fresh, interview Komano’s mother in his hometown.

    Here is his mother apologizing on television. The network is Japan’s TBS, which has run questionable segments in the past.

    Why does his mother have to apologize? Komano wasn’t the only player who missed an opportunity to score a goal during the game. If the team would have scored a goal, it never would have been put in this situation. Komano’s miss was the most visible and, sadly, the most memorable. But singling him out and putting his mother (his mother!) on the spot is cruel.

    “This is deplorable,” tweeted Square Enix exec Yoichi Wada. “Deplorable. How ungrateful.” The Japanese mass media should be more respectful of things like this. Interview Komano. His teammates. His coach. But his mom?

    Failing to come through in high profile, high pressure sporting events can result in good humor in which players joke about their mistakes. It can also result in tragic stories like Donnie Moore’s.

    It wasn’t Komano who lost the game. It was Japan. And the team played a helluva game of which every single member should be proud. Komano,included.

    TBS駒野選手の母親にインタビューし謝罪姿を放送、スクエニ和田社長も最低と遺憾 [オレ的ゲーム速報@刃] [Pic]

  • Well said, Debito! No shame at all in getting as far as they did ahead of previous FIFA champions. Extremely good showing by the boys in blue. Also, no whiny sobbing in the outfield like some spoiled brats as in the last tournament. Manly sportsmanship, excellent effort and a well deserved summer holiday to them all!

    Here in Spain every yard forward is measured on the seismometer these days, and the whole place just shook last night, I tell you! ¡Viva España!

    — I saw plenty of sobbing, however.

  • I think it’s usual for at least one PK to be missed. Making all five of them is kind of rare from the soccer games I have seen decided by them. I remember hearing years ago that PKs were somewhere in the 70% range so it’s only normal for some to be missed. Komano has nothing to be ashamed of at all.


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