Both skills and mindset are already ‘post-Asian’… Japan has reached the ‘next level’
While Klinsmann was desperate for his first win, Japan achieved a comfortable victory against a traditional European powerhouse. Although we did not directly participate in the Korea-Japan match, it is not difficult to feel the widening gap between the two countries’ soccer. Japan appears to have already reached the level of a mid-tier European team.
Japan won 4-1 against Germany in a friendly match held at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg, Germany on the 10th (Korean time). Japan took the lead in the 11th minute of the first half thanks to Junya Ito (Lens)’s first goal, but gave up an equalizer to Kim Min-jae’s teammate Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich) in the 19th minute, but ended the first half with a one-goal lead thanks to a goal by Ayase Ueda (Feyenoord) in the 22nd minute. Japan did not stop there, and Takuma Asano (Bochum) and Ao Tanaka (Dusseldorf) scored consecutive goals in the 45th minute of the second half and the 2nd minute of extra time to sink the tank corps.
Japan, which surprised the world by beating Germany 2-1 in the group stage of the 2022 Qatar World Cup at the end of last year, became the first Asian country to score 4 points in Germany’s enemy territory with a more proactive and overwhelming performance. Japan brought despair to Germany, which once dominated world soccer, saying it “did nothing.” It is the first time in 38 years that Germany has lost three consecutive international matches. German coach Hansi Flick faced the risk of dismissal just two years and four months after taking office. Ao, who scored the fourth goal, said of the unexpectedly calm atmosphere in the locker room, saying, “Compared to the World Cup, not many players were particularly happy.”메이저놀이터
Former Japan national team defender and commentator Tomoaki Makino reacted angrily after the game, saying, “Yamato spirit (Japanese spirit) surpassed Germanic spirit.” Japanese soccer legend Keisuke Honda praised the team through his personal SNS, saying, “Following last year’s World Cup, we won again against Germany. It’s really great. I think Japan has reached the next level.”
Before the game, midfielder Hidemasa Morita (Sporting) confidently said, “I think we are already at or above the mid-table in Europe.” Playmaker Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) said, “I wonder how far we can go.” It’s the atmosphere of a locker room in Japan. Unlike Korea, who were worried about whether they could get their first win against Wales, they went into the game with the determination to take control and win against Germany. The victory against Germany was the result of the growth of individual players who advanced to the European big leagues, the unwavering management of the team by Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu, and the work ability of the Japan Football Association to schedule friendly matches with European powerhouses. Coach Moriyasu said, “We must build a team toward a higher goal.”
There is a widespread sentiment in Japan that the consecutive wins against Germany are a ‘turning point’ for Japanese soccer. This is because the message that ‘Germany is an opponent we can beat’ can be instilled in the next generation. Just as Korea’s myth of reaching the semifinals of the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup had a great influence on younger players. After watching Japan win a landslide victory over Germany, ranked 15th in the FIFA rankings, Korea will challenge for its first win against Saudi Arabia, ranked 54th in the FIFA rankings, on the 13th.