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Posted by Kentaro Matsuura on 06/13/2010

Prior to heading back to the hotel after their final practice before the Cameroon game, Coach Okada held a short press conference, and some of the players quickly spoke to the media. The coach and the team seem really relaxed and in positive spirits. For all the bad preparations that the team has had, it is in a very strong mental state. The following are excerpts from the interviews:

Coach Okada Press Conference:

Q: How is your current state of mind?
A: We’ve done everything we needed to do. We are not overly excited nor are we overly concerned. There is some nervousness, but I want let the players show their best. I want the team to perform its best.

Q: Will the team play defensively?
A: I want to create a condition where the players can bring out their strengths. I’ll tell them that in the meetings. Not once have I told them to play especially defensively because the opponent is Cameroon. We want to be assertive on both offense and defense.

Q: How will you stop Eto’o?
A: Eto’o is not the kind of player that we can’t mark one-on-one. They have an abundance of offensive players so it’s not like we can just mark Eto’o, but I’d like to hold him with a number of players instead of just one central defender.

Q: Where will the goals come from?
A: Watching this tournament, the goals seem to come from counter attacks and set pieces. We’re looking for that pattern too or stealing the ball up front and scoring from there.

Q: Will you make a similar pre-game speech to the one you gave 12 years ago (in World Cup ’98)?
A: I don’t think I’ll be making the same speech, but I haven’t thought of anything special to say. I just don’t want to say anything that won’t allow the players to bring out their best

Q: What color glasses will you be wearing tomorrow?
A: I’ll be wearing the glasses that I’m required to wear under my contract. I think it’s blue.

Q: How do you see the game going?
A: Ideally, we’ll get the first goal and see if we can add to that. If we were to beat Cameroon, it will be 1-0 or 2-1. If the halftime score is 0-0 or 0-1, we’ll be OK.

Player Comments:

FW/MF Keisuke Honda: I’m really relaxed. It’s a really good pitch and I’m personally really excited.

DF Marcus Tulio Tanaka: We’ve prepared well and done what needed to be done. I want to give my best and bring Japan to victory. I’m praying that tomorrow will be a good day.

FW Okazaki: As a forward, I wasn’t able to score during preparations, but we’ve come this far and none of that matters now. I don’t know if I’ll be starting or not tomorrow, but I know that if I score I will get on a roll.

DF Nagatomo: (On South Korea winning its first match) There’s nothing that South Korea can do that we can’t do.

MF Hasebe: I want to go out and get a victory in the first game. We didn’t have the best results during preparations but our fitness levels are high and the mood is extremely good.

GK Kawashima: We’ve prepared well so all we have left to do is go out and play. I want to go all out from the first game. The longer we hold them, the better our chances of winning. Finally, I’ll stand on the pitch with the intent of stopping them myself.


Posted by pheneo22 on 06/14/2010

"DF Nagatomo: (On South Korea winning its first match) There’s nothing that South Korea can do that we can’t do. "
My thoughts exactly.

Posted by Joseph G on 06/14/2010

I am a Singaporean, but support Japan and South Korea. Go Japan!!! Ganbate!!!!

Posted by Tetsuka on 06/14/2010

Good luck Japan! Do your best!

Posted by Seko on 06/14/2010

Go Nippon go..If others can do it, you can as well. I'm from the Solomon Islands, but currently in Japan..So support Japan fully in their games

Posted by Musoke Andrew on 06/14/2010

I just wish my fellow African brothers the best. Camerron is winning 2:0. Go Cameroon go.
Musoke Andrew (Uganda).

Posted by GODRICK RAMSEY on 06/14/2010

How i will be happy watching Cameroon win over Japan "Cameroon do more than expected, do it better than expected and don’t settle for average to make African's happy.

Posted by DAVID L on 06/14/2010

As i can see this is not the Japan we use to see in the last World cup. I think they are slower and defencesivly weak. It will be difficult for them to get pass the group stage, I think South Korea stands a better chance this time round. For tonight game I predit 0-0 or 0-1 to the Afican Lions. Although I am from Asia I surpory Asian teams but lets be realistic lads. Anyway my heart is still with Nippon (but a heavy one).

Posted by Meado on 06/14/2010

My concern for Japan is that they are toothless in offense, and not very physical overall. I'm hoping (I'm an asian) for a draw, but I realy can't see anything but a defeat, unfortunately.

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Kentaro Matsuura was born in Japan and following a move to the USA resorted to following the national team by renting video tapes in Chinatown. Most recently, Kentaro played for and ran the football club at his graduate school, where he studied business. He will join a consulting firm upon graduation.

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