SAMURAI BLUE Progress to Round of 16 with Victory over Indonesia

SAMURAI BLUE Advances to Round of 16 in Second Place with Win Over Indonesia – AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023

SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) secured their spot in the Round of 16 at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 after defeating Indonesia 3-1 in their group stage match on Wednesday. The victory ensured Japan finished as runners-up in Group D and will face the top-ranked team from Group E in the next round on January 31.

To secure their advancement, Japan made eight changes to their lineup from the previous defeat to Iraq, with SUZUKI Zion starting once again, bolstered by a solid defense featuring MAIKUMA Seiya, TOMIYASU Takehiro, MACHIDA Koki, and NAKAYAMA Yuta. The midfield was anchored by ENDO Wataru, while KUBO Takefusa and HATATE Reo took on attacking roles. UEDA Ayase led the line, supported by DOAN Ritsu and NAKAMURA Keito on the wings.

Facing an Indonesia side eyeing a historic qualification, Japan took control early on as Ueda converted a penalty in the sixth minute. Despite Indonesia’s attempts to break through, they were unable to breach Japan’s defense, and the first half ended with Japan in the lead.

In the second half, Japan continued their dominance and added to their tally with Ueda scoring his second in the 51st minute. Although Doan had several close chances, Japan’s decisive moment came when ITO Junya set up Ueda for his hat-trick goal.

Despite conceding a late goal, Japan held on for a 3-1 victory, securing their place in the Round of 16. In the other Group D match, Iraq overcame Vietnam 3-2 to finish with three wins, while Vietnam ended their campaign at the bottom of the group.

Commenting on the match, SAMURAI BLUE’s Head Coach MORIYASU Hajime praised his team’s aggression and preparation, highlighting the need for improvement in certain areas as they progress in the tournament. Players like SUZUKI Zion, MAIKUMA Seiya, TOMIYASU Takehiro, ENDO Wataru, UEDA Ayase, DOAN Ritsu, NAKAMURA Keito, and KUBO Takefusa shared their insights on the game and their performances.

Indonesia’s Head Coach SHIN Tae-yong acknowledged Japan’s strength and commended his team’s efforts despite the defeat. With Japan advancing to the knockout stages, the competition at the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 is set to intensify as teams vie for the title.

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