Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Samurai in BLUE!!!!!!

Well, Japan's stint in the FIFA World Cup 2010 (also known as the Great Vuvuzela Concert with added Soccer Attraction) has come to an end. They made it as far as the second round, whereupon they lost to Paraguay in a PK shoot-out.

...which, when you think about it, is quite an achievement for several reasons:
  1. They came into the World Cup tournament ranked 45th in the world.
  2. Though Japan has advanced to the World Cup several times since the debut of the pro J-League at the beginning of the '90s, they've been consistently cursed with a shooting drought, sending them home after the first round with a tally of losses and scoreless draws. The only notable exception was in 2002, when Japan hosted the World Cup. Their win against Cameroon this year was actually their first-ever victory in a World Cup match not played on Japanese soil. Their subsequent win over Denmark was their second, sending them to the second round for only the third time in all of Japanese history.
  3. Every game they played was against a team that was expected to bury them. Their win over Cameroon was exciting enough. Their victory over Denmark had jaws dropping to the ground. The fact that they held mighty Holland, who went on to beat Brazil, to a mere 1-0 win on a goal scored in the second half, was impressive. And the fact that they defied all predictions of a brutal massacre at the hands of Paraguay in the second round, holding on in a strenuous against a much-higher-rated foe through regular time and extra time only to fall at last in a PK shoot-out (i.e. they might as well have decided the game by rock-scissors-paper) definitely shows that they deserve far more respect than they've gotten.
  4. They were outplayed but never completely outmatched. The movement on the field was there. The positioning was there. The plays were there. The shots were there. As always, Japan was plagued with that weird curse that always seems to guide their shots into posts or over them in tournament games. It was good that some shots found the mark when they really needed to, but if a few more had been better aimed, the outcome would have been very different. On the other hand, there was some fantastic effort on the part of the fullback defenders, coming to the rescue of the goalkeeper during a few crisis situations.
So the Boys in BLUE have finished their stint and are back home now ready to rejoin league action. They did a heck of a job, and they have every reason to be proud.

Now excuse me...I want to go catch the match between Germany and Argentina! :)


  • Ja....WOHL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Blogger The Moody Minstrel, at 1:06 AM  

  • It is nice seeing the World Cup getting popular in the US and people getting excited about it.

    By Blogger Don Snabulus, at 1:31 PM  

  • This year has seen many surprises - A lot of low ranking countries have done far better than expected.

    England were, of course, as bad as expected :-(

    I think the next one will see a lot more of Japan and the USA...

    By Blogger Rock Chef, at 9:20 PM  

  • Indeed, that Great Vuvuzela Concert! I hope they come up with a ruling to just allow it for the World Cup. Gotta check with Paul, the Octopus, to see if that'll happen..

    By Blogger HappySurfer, at 1:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home