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Posted by Kentaro Matsuura on 06/19/2010

Here's the 2nd edition of the live blog. Kick off in a few minutes! Keep refreshing the page as I will try to type as the game goes on. Even if you can't follow the blog live, this should act as a good initial recap of the game.

Pregame (-5'): Lots and lots of orange in the stands, and scattered Japanese flags as well. There might be a slight home field advantage for the Netherlands.

Pregame (-1'): Looks like the same starting line-up for Japan. For Holland, still no Robben due to his hamstring injury. Elia not in the starting line-up either.

2' Holland: The Dutch are moving the ball around quickly taking control of possession. Japan put together 2 or 3 passes before its pass being cut by Holland.

4' Holland: Van Persie with a nice cross from the left side and Nagatomo clears for a CK. CK cleared safely by Japan, but Holland maintain possession.

6' Holland: Slow build up in the game so far. Holland are being patient, moving the ball around mostly in the back and sometimes up to midfield. Japan are having a hard time getting any control of the ball.

7' Holland: Van Persie fouled by Nakazawa 5 yards outside of the box on left side. Komano studded in the face in the process by Van Persie. Direct shot by Sneijder, but as we've seen many many times in this tournament, the ball sails slightly over the bar.

10' Holland: More and more possession by Holland leading to a cross and bicycle kick by Kuyt. Blocked by defender.

11' Japan: Japan finally put some passes together and create their first scoring a chance, a low shot by Nagatomo goes wide right of the goal!

12' Japan: Should mention that Japan are playing the exact same formation as the last game, 4-3-2-1. There were some reports that we'd play a 4-4-2, but those were false.

13' Holland: Free kick by Van der Vaart from far on the right side, but Japan clear harmlessly as Tulio Tanaka is fouled.

16' Japan: A little bit of possession by Japan and Matsui flicks over the top through to Honda but the ball trickles past the end line.

18' Holland: Japan as expected have only had 25% of the possession, but it's felt pretty safe as Holland haven't had any real chances at goal. Another harmless cross into the box is cleared by the defense.

20' Japan: Japan are defending very well with Tulio Tanaka and Nagatomo. The Dutch are getting no space whatsoever.

24' Japan: Nagatomo makes a nice run all the way the left side, but he can't chase the ball down as it goes over the line.

25' Japan: A rare cross by Japan, but Okubo offsides by a hair. He would've been all alone had he been one step back.

28' Japan: Okubo makes a magical touch on the sideline to get past, but he keeps the ball a little too long and is finally relieved of possession near the 18. Pretty dribbling though and a little spark of Japanese offense.

30' : After 30 minutes the same things are occuring over and over. Holland are keeping great control of the ball, but mostly in their back 2/3rds. No real chances for either sides, but it looks like Holland is being very patient knowing all they need today is probably 1 goal.

33' Japan: Endo free kick from 40 yards out is crossed into the box and right on Honda's head, but header goes over the bar. Difficult angle for Honda since the ball came from behind.

35' Holland: Free kick in the middle for the Dutch. Maybe 40 meteres out. Lofted in but cleared again.

36' Japan: Matsui takes the clear and dribbles down the right flank but is taken down by Van der Wiel. Yellow card given. Endo crosses it again and Tulio Tanaka up for the header but ball goes harmlessly over the endline. Good try, another 2 inches and it could've been dangerous.

37' Japan: Japan get a chances as Komano makes it free up the right side. Ball gets to Tanaka in the box and then ultimately gets dropped off to Matsui but a poor first touch leads to an awkward volley from him outside the box. First shot on goal at least.

39' Holland: Play getting a little bit more exciting as Holland's passing seems to have increased in pace and quantity. They look like they are about to pounce, but a through ball goes far past and across the end line. Looks like they will go for one before the half.

41' Japan: Okubo wins a free kick in the center from about 40 yards out. Honda takes it as expected with a no-spin shot, but again right over the cross. This ball has no dip whatsoever, but the kick wasn't taken that well either.

43' Japan: Honda gets the ball completley free on the right flank and takes it into the box and passes into the middle but just behind the support and possession back to Holland.

45' Holland: I believe Holland get their first shot as Van der Vaart gets a shot on net from right outside the right corner of the 18, which kawashima handles easily. After 1 minute of extra time, it is halftime.

Halftime: A positive first half for Japan. Score is 0-0, which was Okada's plan and unlike Cameroon, there haven't been many scoring situations for the Dutch. Would love to keep the game going like this into the second half, but I'm pretty sure once Elia comes onto the field his pace and power will cause all kinds of havoc for Japan's defense.

0' No substitutions for the half.

47' Holland: Two quick offensive chances for Holland. Sneijder with a hard shot from just outside the 18, which is blocked immediately by endo. Then a quick cross into Van Persie who heads on goal but is stopped by Kawashima. The Dutch have opened up and are coming to attack.

49' Holland: A long ball from Van Bommel from midfield and Van Persie traps it behind the defense but shot is far wide.

51' Holland: A Tanaka foul leads to a free kick from the right touchline. Van der Vaart curls it in but Tulio Tanaka heads it out for a corner. Sneijder takes the corner but Japan head it clear. Let's see if Japan can survive this bombardment for the next 10 minutes.

52' Holland: GOAL. Another corner kick is cleared out, and Holland keep possesion. A couple of crosses and finally the ball drops down in the box, laid off to Sneijder outside the 18. The shot is RIPPED and hits Kawashima and goes in. Kawashima was clearly tricked by the ball. He dove right, and ball went left. Sometimes this ball is good for the offense.

56' Japan: Japan realize they need to get back in the game. Okubo receives the ball dribbles to the edge of the 18 and takes a shot on goal. Saved easily.

57' Japan: Endo and Okubo combine well on the right side and Okubo gets another shot off, but it goes over the bar.

58' Japan: Japan wins their first corner kick of the World Cup. A short corner leads to a second corner kick. Looks like Japan is afraid to cross it in, probably due to their lack of height. Take that back, they get a third corner off the cross.

60' Japan: The game has flipped a bit and Japan is keeping good possession. Nakazawa wins a free kick from 40 meters out. Endo takes it and Abe flicks it on! But right to the keeper.

64' Japan Substitution: Matsui out, Shunsuke Nakamura in. Let's see if he can show some of his magic in one last World Cup.

65' Japan: Japan connect a number of passes and Okubo finds space to shoot from outside the left side of the box but his shot goes slightly wide. He is getting shots though.

67' Holland: Sneijder with a nice cross from the left side, with two forwards v two defenders, but somehow the ball gets past everyone.

68' Japan: Komano sends in a beautiful ball from the right side, which is cleared out for a corner. Nakamura with a cross after the corner and a last ditch clear by Holland. Japan is getting closer. Nakamura with the corner, but after a couple pin balls the ball is cleared.

72' Japan: Japan are possessing the ball well but a horrible cross by Komano on the right leads to a goal kick:

72' Holland Substitution: Van Der Vaart out, Elia in.

75' Holland: Hasebe loses the ball in the midfield and Holland get a 4v3 but well cleared by Tulio Tanaka.

77' Japan Substitution: In: Tamada and Okazaki, Out: Hasebe and Okubo.

78' Holland: Elia puts in a nice through ball, but Kawashima comes off the line to grab it up.

81' Japan: Nakamura keeps the ball on the right side of the box but Nagatomo seems surprised by the pass and lets it go for a goal kick.

82' Japan: Honda puts in a good cross, but past the reach of Tulio Tanaka. If Tulio is out, we know Japan are going for a goal.

82' Holland Sub: Sneijder out, Afellay in.

85' Holland: Affellay gets through the defense and goes one v one against the Keeper, but Kawashima makes a brilliant save to keep the score 1-0.

87' Japan: Japan are lobbing balls into the box now, but they are easily defended by the Dutch. Just hopeful balls, really.

87' Holland Sub: Van Pirsie out, Jan Huntelaar in.

88' Holland: Jan Huntelaar puts Afellay through for another one v one but Kawashima stops it again! Corner kick is then cleared out.

90' Japan: Okazaki breaks through and had a volley from up close against the keeper but barely over the cross bar. That should've tied it!

93': Final Whistle. Japan 0 Holland 1.


Posted by pheneo22 on 06/19/2010

So far so good. Just hope they can keep this level of performance or improve a little bit. A draw would be good.

Posted by Swedenjindesu on 06/19/2010

Great start, let's just hope they have the stamina to keep pressuring the Dutch.

Posted by Niraj on 06/19/2010

Great save by Kawashima! Hopefull Japan can get some good pressure in the last 5 minutes.

Posted by cs on 06/19/2010

Think Jap's weak strike force is very much accentuated here. Failure to maintain composure in front of goal is something the Jap team should look into. Kinda disappointing. Was hoping they would at least steal a draw after going down by 1.

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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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