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Discussion Starter #45
Japan started off aggressive, but despite outshooting Ghana, failed to score. Ghana scored, capitalizing on a loose clear from a counter run, that deflected off RB Uchida before shaking the net. The first half ended with Ghana leading 0-1.

Japan came out hungry to level, and Kagawa scored 5 minutes into the second half, cutting in through the defense, off a pass from Nagatomo. Endo and Honda added to the tally before the game was over.

Kakitani, Kagawa and Kiyotake came off as Zaccheroni switched to a 343. As is most often the case when the system is tested, Japan's coordination appeared stunted, but they held on for the 3-1 win.
 

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Discussion Starter #46 (Edited)
Japan's call ups for Serbia 11th, and Belarus 15th.

▼GK
Eiji Kawashima - Standard Liege
Shusaku Nishikawa - Sanfrecce
Shuichi Gonda - FC Tokyo

▼CB
Yasuyuki Konni - Gamba Osaka
Masahiko Inoha - Jubilo Iwata
Maya Yoshida - Southampton
Masato Morishige - FC Tokyo

▼SB/SH
Yuto Nagatomo - Inter
Atsuto Uchida - Schalke 04
Hiroki Sakai - Hannover
Gotoku Sakai - Stuttgart

▼DM/CM
Yasuhito Endo - Gamba Osaka
Makoto Hasebe - Nuremburg
Hajime Hosogai - Hertha Berlin
Keisuke Honda - CSKA Moscow
Hotaru Yamaguchi - Cerezo Osaka

▼WF/AM
Shinji Okazaki - Mainz
Shinji Kagawa - Manchester United
Hiroshi Kiyotake - Nuremburg
Manabu Saito - Yokohama F. Marinos
Takashi Inui - Frankfurt

▼CF
Yoichiro Kakitani - Cerezo OsakaMike Havenaar - Vitesse
 

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Discussion Starter #48
Serbia's call ups for the game with Japan.

▼GK
Vladimir Stojković - Partizan
Damir Kahriman - Simferopol
Vladimir Aleksic - Spartak Zlatibor

▼DF
Antonio Rukavina - Real Valladolid
Branislav Ivanović - Chelsea
Nikola Maksimović - Torino
Aleksandar Kolarov - Man City
Nenad Tomović - Fiorentina
Aleksandar Ignjovski - Werder Bremen
Branislav Trifković - Vojvodina

▼MF
Dejan Stanković - Retired
Ivan Radovanović - Chievo
Luka Milivojević - Anderlecht
Radosav Petrović - Gençlerbirliği
Nenad Krstičić - Sampdoria
Nemanja Matić - Benfica
Dušan Basta - Udinese
Andrija Živković - Partizan
Miloš Jojić - Partizan

▼FW
Dušan Tadić - FC Twente
Zoran Tošić - CSKA Moscow
Miralem Sulejmani - Benfica
Filip Đorđević - FC Nantes
Stefan Šćepović - Sporting de Gijón

Apparently they are calling up Dejan Stankovic who retired from Inter, a last call up, so he can retire as Serbia's most capped international. Lazar Marković, Filip Đuričić (Benfica), and Matija Nastasić are missing due to schedule conflict with Serbia's U21 team. Milan Biševac (Lyon) and Neven Subotić are missing due injury.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Usami was rated highly a few years ago, when he went on loan to Bayern. At the moment, our attacking midfield/wings are overcrowded with guys that play in Europe, like Honda, Kagawa, Kiyotake, Inui, Okazaki, and Usami plays for a J-League club. But after the Confederations cup, the team's been testing more J-Leaguers, so his chance may come. He's only 21. I think by 2018, guys like Usami, Miyaichi, Minamino will be regulars, while Honda, Okazaki, Endo, Hasebe will probably be out.
 

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Minamino still has a couple of more years to develop before he's ready for the national team. Miyaichi as well. Although I don't see Miyaichi ever becoming a success like Kiyotake, Inui, etc... His technical skill isn't there and he relies on his pace too much. Usami is clearly ready. His current season in the J League 2 is very much like Shinji's domination in the 2nd division.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
Minamino still has a couple of more years to develop before he's ready for the national team. Miyaichi as well. Although I don't see Miyaichi ever becoming a success like Kiyotake, Inui, etc... His technical skill isn't there and he relies on his pace too much. Usami is clearly ready. His current season in the J League 2 is very much like Shinji's domination in the 2nd division.
Minamino I think, will one day be a great great player. Usami is already very good, but I don't see him getting a call up from where his team currently stands. Usami's been representing Japan consistently since the U15s, so I'm sure his chance will come again. I just don't think it will happen during the Zaccheroni management.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Kawashima
Uchida - Yoshida - Konno - Nagatomo
Endo - Hasebe
Okazaki - Honda - Kagawa
Kakitani

Serbia 2 - 0 Japan​
Poor overall. Serbia had an iron defense, played physical, and executed a quick counter smoothly. Japan had too many players off form, played too static, and made too many errors. Yoshida is a crap defender. Has been for a year. Don't know why we still field him. Kakitani didn't impress. Kagawa worked hard, but the effect of being benched was evident. Okazaki godawful. Honda, passing grade. Nagatomo good. Endo okay.
 

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I just think Japan tries to walk it in the net every time. The strikers feed off scraps in that system. Kakitani linked up well whenever the ball came to him, he just wasn't put in dangerous positions. Although Inui is frustrating at times, I think he needs more gametime. He's not afraid to shoot and sometimes they need that bit of selfishness.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Belarus leading 1-0 at HT. Japan started off with some good attacking, but again defense bit shaky.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Kawashima
Uchida - Yoshida - Konno - Nagatomo
Endo - Hasebe
Okazaki - Honda - Kagawa
Kakitani​

Lost yet again, after conceding and being unable to break a thick defense. Too many little errors and wasted balls. Overall it was a better game than Serbia, but still not near good enough. Honda had his moments, but was poor. Hasebe shouldn't have played. Okazaki was poor. Kagawa was one of our better players on the pitch, along with Schalke's Uchida. Kawashima was good. Could not be blamed for the one goal at all.
 

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Japan's attack is looking really bad right now. Actually, it's been looking bad for the longest time. They try to walk the ball into the net every time and it's not working. The striker and even Nagatomo suffer. At this point, a new formation should be put on trial and see what happens. If they want to continue with the same formation, bring in Usami who can create something out of nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
Japan's attack is looking really bad right now. Actually, it's been looking bad for the longest time. They try to walk the ball into the net every time and it's not working. The striker and even Nagatomo suffer. At this point, a new formation should be put on trial and see what happens. If they want to continue with the same formation, bring in Usami who can create something out of nothing.
Japan's attack is out of sync right now. Before, Maeda was our main striker, and he was more of a Welbeck type. A hard worker, good presser, he scored a fair bit, but the real goal threat came from the 2nd line of AMs. Back then, our AMs played further up the pitch.

A few things have changed since though. In many ways, Japan's national team is now suffering from the same problems as United.

1. Center Forward has always been a weak area for Japan. Having no classic forwards with an imposing frame, we rely on technique and finesse, supported by combination football. We recently have brought in Kakitani, Osako, Saito, Havenaar, Toyoda, etc... Too many different strikers, all of which play differently, and that's thrown us off sync. But right now we seem to be going with Kakitani mostly. Kakitani is a poor man's RVP, the most technically gifted striker Japan has, but he's a striker that scores best from good build up, and we are lacking there at the moment. Much like RVP recently, he suffers from being out of sync with the 2nd line, not getting good ball supply, and often being isolated up top.

2. With us trying out many different strikers and trying to pick one to be a fixed CF, we punted Okazaki out wide to the right as a WF. Okazaki is a Chicharito type. Great poacher, and scampers about enthusiastically, but not the best at build up. He's the guy you want to put on as a super sub when you just must score. Starting him on the right makes the build up from our right much weaker, which in turn places all of the opposing defense on Honda at CAM and Kagawa on the left.

3. Honda's slowed down considerably, and plays more as a ball holder than a strict playmaker. Honda nowadays, plays a lot like Rooney, dips deep and defends a fair bit, then passes the ball rather than dribble about the edge of the final third. Part of this is that Honda's style has changed to compensate for our weak midfield.

4. Our midfield starting two are Endo and Hasebe. These two mirror Fellaini and Carrick. Endo is Japan's Carrick. Passer extraordinaire, interceptor, midfield architect. But a ball runner he is not, and a tackler he is not. Hasebe is a DM that loses the ball, and gets carded as he rushes to try and get it back. Neither are good at running the ball up the pitch to allow our AMs to play higher.

Nagatomo is like a cross between Evra and Rafael. He is very offense oriented, much like Evra, but he cuts narrow more, like Rafael. He runs the ball and gets in the final third. Solid player, though not the greatest defensively. Kagawa has been playing more and more like a United winger than a Japan AM, which is really sad to see. He's either waddling about the touchline, or having a frustrated moment of running center to get the ball, only to find himself too close to Honda to be effective. When he goes out wide, he barely gets the ball. When he comes in to receive the ball, Honda doesn't drift wide, but insists on staying central, so they kill each other's space. When Japan's attack was a beautiful fluid thing, there was more interchanging. If Kagawa came in, Honda went out. We don't see much of that anymore. If Kagawa comes central, Honda stays central and dips behind Kagawa.

We're reaching a point where we need to move Honda out of the hole, to bring some pace to the midfield, and we need to look for an Endo successor. Yoshida should be benched with his performance of late, and Okazaki should be a sub option.
I'd personally field something like this, to try something different. Attack oriented 3-4-3.

---------| Kawashima |---------​
---- Morishige ---- Konno ------ << Yoshida out, Morishige in
------------- Hosogai ------------ << Hasebe+Endo out, Hosogai (Hertha) in as DM/3CB.​
Uchida-Honda-Hotaru-Yuto << Honda moved to two man mid with Hotaru Yamaguchi
------------ Kagawa ------------- << Kagawa at center top of midfield.
----- Kakitani ------ Okazaki -- << Two strikers up top, getting behind defenses.

Could try Usami for Okazaki's spot.
Could try Kiyotake for Honda as well.
Could try Saito for Uchida or Kakitani.​
Ohgihara is an option, as is Inui.
 

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I know all about Kakitani. I follow Cerezo Osaka so I watch all of their games. I also follow Japan's national team. A new formation should indeed be tried. As it is, the strikers are useless. The defense, which isn't even that great, is put in bad situations by the midfield.

I don't think Zac will try something as drastic as that. It should be explored but I have no faith in Zac trying something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Japan's call ups for the Netherlands 16th, and Belgium 19th matches.

▼GK
Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege: Belgium)
Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce: J-League)
Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo: J-League)

▼CB
Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba: J-2)
Masahiko Inoha (Iwata: J-League)
Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo: J-League)
Maya Yoshida (Southampton: BPL)

▼SBYuto Nagatomo (Inter: Serie A)
Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04: Bundesliga)
Hiroki Sakai (Hannover: Bundesliga)
Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart: Bundesliga)

▼MF
Yasuhito Endo (Gamba: J-2)
Makoto Hasebe (Nuremburg: Bundesliga)
Hajime Hosogai (Hertha: Bundesliga)
Keisuke Honda (CSKA: Russia)
Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo: J-League)
Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo: J-League)

▼FW
Shinji Kagawa (Man United: BPL)
Shinji Okazaki (Mainz: Bundesliga)
Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremburg: Bundesliga)
Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo: J-League)
Manabu Saito (Marinos: J-League)
Yuya Osako (Antlers: J-League)
 
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