Player Presentation Japan U-20
HAYASHI Akihiro 1987 University Player ( don’t know much about him,. but he’s a clear 2nd choice behind Takeda)
TAKEDA Yohei 1987 Shimizu S-Pulse - J1 ( yet to make his J.League debut)
OTA Kosuke 1987 Yokohama FC - J1 ( frequent starter)
FUKUMOTO Yohei 1987 Oita Trinita - J1 ( only 3 games yet, but started 2 of the last 3 for Oita)
YANAGAWA Masaki 1987 Vissel Kobe- J1 ( yet to make his debut for Vissel, frequent sub)
MAKINO Tomoaki 1987 Sanfrecce Hiroshima - J1 ( squad player, usually sub for Sanfrecce)
YASUDA Michihiro 1987 Gamba Osaka - J1 ( have started every game for Gamba this season)
UCHIDA Atsuto 1988 Kashima Antlers - J1 (vital member for Kashima)
KAGAWA Shinji 1989 Cerezo Osaka - J2 ( regular starter/important member for Cerezo)
UMESAKI Tsukasa 1987 Grenoble - France 2. ( occasional starter, rotation player)
MORISHIGE Masato 1987 Oita Trinita - J1 ( gets to play occasionally for his club)
FUJITA Seiya 1987 Consadole Sapporo - J2 ( vital member/playmaker for Consadole)
TANAKA Atomu 1987 Albirex Niigata - J1 ( sub, occasional starter for Albirex)
KASHIWAGI Yosuke 1987 Sanfrecce Hiroshima - J1 ( regular starter for Sanfrecce)
AOYAMA Jun 1988 Nagoya Grampus Eight - J1 ( have only recorded 1 J.League game for Nagoya)
HIRASHIGE Ryuichi 1988 Sanfrecce Hiroshima - J1 ( gets to play occasionally for Sanfrecce)
KANASAKI Mu 1989 Oita Trinita - J1 ( frequent starter for Oita) ( injured)
KAWAHARA Kazuhisa 1987. Albirex Niigata - J1 ( frequent sub for Albirex)
AOKI Kota 1987 JEF United - J1 ( regular sub for JEF)
HAVENAAR Mike 1987 Yokohama F Marinos - J1 ( regular sub for Marinos)
MORISHIMA Yasuhito 1987 Cerezo Osaka-J2 ( regular starter/important member for Cerezo)
Probable line-up: (4-4-2):
GK: Yohei Takeda:
DR: Atsuto Uchida
DL: Michihiro Yasuda
DC: Yohei Fukumoto
DC: Kosuke Ota
MR: Atomu Tanaka
ML: Shinji Kagawa
MC: Tsukasa Umesaki
MC: Seiya Fujita
FW: Mike Havenaar
FW: Yasuhito Morishima
There is alot of big talent in this squad, and several of the players are already vital members for their clubs. The biggest star is Atsuto Uchida of Kashima Antlers, who already last year was a prominent figure for his team. This year, Yasuda of Gamba have started every game, leaving the highly regarded U-22 member Akihiro Ienaga left on the bench for many games.
With Yasuda and Uchida on the wingbacks, we will probably see some nice offensive runs on both sides, and with the tall strikers Havenaar and Morishima waiting in the box, that might prove to be a good combination.
The midfield is well made up of both offensive and defensive talented players, and should be able to hold themselves against most teams. In this tournament though, they meet 2 top european teams in France and Germany, which will probably prove to be a tough match for them.
About the strikers, neither of them have a reputation of being prolific goalscorers, but they fight well, and always put down a great effort on the field. Havenaar, with his 194cm, should be able to win some aerial balls.
The biggest question mark of the team lies in defence and in the goal. Takeda in goal is obviously a big talent, but tends to be a bit erratic at times. With Ota and Fukumoto in central defence, they have 2 members both used to J.1 games, but they’ve never played with eachother before, so communication might be a problem.
In general, the japanese players lacks physique if you compare them to european or african players. Their strenghts lies instead in technique,agility, speed and stamina usual, and often that’s enough.
History-wise, Japan have always had a pretty good U-20 team, and they have reached the group stage in 5 of the 7 U-20 World Cups held. They eased through the Asian qualifier for the July World Cup, but just lost out on penalties to North Korea in the final.
Japan will face a tough battle getting through to the quarter-finals, but with a bit of luck and ALOT of hard work, we might see them through ;)
Hopefully we'll see scenes like this among the travelling Japan fans!