Olympic Team

Japan Under-23 national team

~The team to face an Olympic challenge~

the Olympic Games campaign

Football was introduced to the Olympics at the Summer Games in Paris in 1900 and has been a part of the Games every four years – with the single exception of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The men’s Olympic football tournament was reformed in 1992 and is now a challenge for the best Under-23 teams in the world. This challenge is now an integral part of Japan’s football development.
Under the current age-category format, Japan qualified for the first time at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, putting the men’s team back in the Olympic spotlight for the first time since 1968, when Japan won a bronze medal in Mexico.
In 1996, the young Boys in Blue, guided by Akira Nishino, beat Brazil 1-0 in their opening match en route to a 2-0-1 win-draw-loss record. Despite their positive performance, they finished third in their group on goal difference and failed to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament.
Four years later in Sydney, Japan reached the quarterfinals under the guidance of Japan’s 2002 World Cup coach Philippe Troussier. Japan finished second with a 2-0-1 record behind Brazil in the group stage after beating South Africa 2-1 and Slovakia 2-1, and suffering a 1-0 loss to Brazil.
After that, however, Japan’s Olympic campaigns were disappointing and they failed to make it past the group stage in both 2004 and 2008.
At Athens in 2004, Japan, coached by Masakuni Yamamoto, finished with one win against two defeats. In Beijing four years later, the young Japanese side, led by Yasuharu Sorimachi, suffered three straight defeats – 1-0 to the United States, 2-1 to Nigeria and 1-0 to the Netherlands.
The Japan Under-23 side will next be campaigning for the 2012 London Olympics, and former Kawasaki Frontale boss Takashi Sekizuka was appointed as the coach for that challenge in September 2010.