Moriyasu delighted with Japan's progress
Porto Alegre: Head coach Hajime Moriyasu has praised Japan for their 2-2 draw with Uruguay in the Copa America on Thursday, saying the result is just what his young squad needed.
Japan, playing as an invited team, are in Brazil for the Copa America with a squad largely consisting players likely to feature in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After opening their Group C campaign with a 4-0 defeat against Chile, Moriyasu's team showed great determination to match six-time Copa America champions Uruguay.
Koji Miyoshi twice gave Japan the lead only for Luis Suarez and Jose Jimenez to pull the South Americans level.
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"This draw will help us grow because Uruguay is one of the top teams in international football," said Moriyasu. "This point will help us develop and boost our confidence."
Moriyasu praised his team for their effort against the world number eight Uruguayans.
"They wanted to win and that showed in the way they played. They worked hard and went in for challenges. The (Uruguay goals) were unfortunate, but overall it was a great effort," Moriyasu said.
Two-goal hero Miyoshi said securing the point against Uruguay was crucial to Japan's hopes of advancing to the next stage.
"We were able to play the way we envisioned. As an individual player, I was able to score, while we got the point (as a team)," said the attacking midfielder, who only made his Japan debut against Chile.
The result was another strong showing against Uruguay for Japan, who won 4-3 when the teams met previously in a friendly at Saitama Stadium last October.
Japan will play their final group game against Ecuador in Mineirao on Monday.
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