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Kageyama full of praise for Japan after win over Mexico

Monday, May 27, 2019
Japan-Mexico - FIFA U20 World Cup

Gdynia: Japan head coach Masanaga Kageyama was full of praise for his young charges after a superb high-intensity performance saw them record a 3-0 win over Mexico at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland on Sunday.

Two neat finishes from Taisei Miyashiro and a flicked header from Kyosuke Tagawa helped earn all three points for the East Asians who, following a 1-1 draw with Ecuador in the opening match, are currently second in Group B behind table-topping Italy.

Japan shone brightly throughout the meeting with Mexico, hassling and harrying their Central American counterparts to great effect en route to a famous victory that Kageyama believes was a fine example of lessons well learned.

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"Closing players down is not something that is in the Japanese footballing DNA, and at times it has caused issues for our various different teams,” he told FIFA’s official website.

“Our culture is vastly different from what you find in Europe or South America, and we often struggle on the international stage because of this. For the past two years that I have been in charge of this team, I’ve been stressing this aspect day in, day out. And today [against Mexico] they really stepped up in this respect.


We hear the secrets of Japan’s success after Samurai Blue 🇯🇵 put one hand on a spot in the #U20WC knockout stage with an emphatic win over Mexico


— (@FIFAcom) May 27, 2019


"I didn’t need to teach them how to press or carry out any specific exercises. I just told them, 'Close them down, close them down!'

“They realised out on the pitch how to exert pressure effectively. It’s a real advantage when it comes to being competitive here. Everyone benefits from it, forwards and defenders alike."

Japan, now within touching distance of a place in the knockout rounds, will conclude their group stage campaign on Wednesday when they face Italy in Bydgoszcz.

Photo: FIFA

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