Japan's Moriyasu says Copa exit a learning process
Belo Horizonte: Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu said his team would learn from their Copa America heartbreak after missing out on a place in the quarter-finals following Monday's 1-1 draw with Ecuador.
Shoya Nakajima gave the Blue Samurai a 15th minute lead in Belo Horizonte while substitute Daizen Maeda had a late chance to win it when put through one-on-one with goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez.
Angel Mena's equaliser on 35 minutes and teenage sensation Takefusa Kubo's potential injury-time winner being ruled out by VAR meant Japan came up short.
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"They're learning to compete with top level opponents," said Moriyasu, who brought a mostly Under-23 team to Brazil as several clubs refused to release regular first choice players.
"Our players need to learn as much as they can, with great humility, respecting their opponents and understanding that they can develop our football."
This squad will at least form the basis of the Under-23 team that competes in next year's Tokyo Olympics.
Japan improved drastically on their opening match - a 4-0 defeat by Chile - in drawing their next two games against Uruguay (2-2) and Ecuador.
"It's a shame that we couldn't progress to the next stage, we need to improve," said Moriyasu.
"Football is improving in Japan and in Asia in a general manner. We've managed to play good matches against strong teams from all over the world."
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