The Blue Samurai have progressed into the Quarter-Finals of the Asian Cup top of Group D with a strong 2 – 0 win over Jordan in Melbourne.
As expected, Japan demonstrated why they are the reigning champions of Asia putting on a class act that left Jordan out played in just about every area of the pitch.
From the beginning, the gauntlet was thrown down for Jordan who needed a win to secure their survival in this tournament. A fast kick-off showed their attacking intent to take the game up to their opponents.
But the Japanese defence showed resiliences to absorb Jordan’s enthusiasm and were quickly able to gain possession. Thus forcing Jordan back into their own half as Japan begun to push a high line.
Everything about Japan’s movement had planning; a play straight out of coach Javier Aguirre’s playbook for every situation.
Their opening goal was a perfect example of their patience.
Shinji Kagawa controlling the ball out of defence which he in-turn placed through Jordan’s defence, opening up space on goal for Shinji Okazaki. A quick turn and shot across his body forced Amer Shafi into tapping the ball away into the path of Keisuke Honda who scored with ease.
The work-rate of the Japanese defence paid dividends depriving their opponents a single shot on goal in the first half. An impressive 86% passing accuracy left little room to capitalise on error.
Jordan returned in the second period visibly charged which impressed onto their football. Their only shot on goal came after just 10 minutes from substitute Munther Amarah forcing Japan keeper Eiji Kawashima to save.
However, as Japan began to find their feet in this half, it was only a matter of time before they found their second. Winger Yoshinori Muto found space on the left to run into and produce a low cross to Kagawa who shot and scored his first goal of the tournament.
The Samurai Blue will look to continue their unbeaten run when they face the UAE on Friday.
Final Score // JPN 2 – 0 JOR
Words by Jacob Arnott. Photos by Aleks Jason.