Zaccheroni not happy with Venezuela draw
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni was disappointed with the 1-1 draw against Venezuela in a Kirin Challenge Cup friendly on Wednesday in Sapporo.
“I don’t like not winning a game even it is a friendly,” said Zaccheroni.
In the first of the two warm-ups ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifier with Iraq, Japan went ahead in the 14th minute through Gamba Osaka midfielder Endo Yasuhito, but their lead was cancelled out by Venezuela forward Nicolas Fedor in the 62nd minute.
“We were very lively in the first half and made some good moves,” Zaccheroni said. “We scored first and went looking for a second goal while employing ‘risk management,’ which was good.
“But we didn’t score enough for the chances we made. We didn’t make many shooting attempts and didn’t attack the space behind our opponents as much as we had in our previous matches.”
It was Japan’s first game since three final-round qualifiers for the World Cup in early June, which ended with two wins and a draw.
The Italian coach was unhappy that his players couldn’t maintain their pace to the end of the game against Venezuela.
“It was good to see our players showing the ideas and concept of the team, but they weren’t able to do that for 90 minutes,” Zaccheroni pointed out. “We also gave away the goal on a counterattack in a similar way to the one against Uzbekistan. We need to fix that.”
But Zaccheroni, was happy with his backline after assessing Inoha Masahiko of Vissel Kobe in the first half and Mizumoto Hiroki of Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the second half as center-back partners to Yoshida Maya of VVV Venlo.
The Japan coach also used Jubilo Iwata full-back Komano Yuichi in place of Uchida Atsuto. Japan will be missing three defenders in their World Cup qualifying tie with Iraq on September 11 in Saitama as Konno Yasuyuki, Kurihara Yuzo and Uchida are all suspended.
“I can give a passing mark to our defense,” said Zaccheroni. “I wanted to see how they would do in the backline without Konno, and they did well.”
Meanwhile, Venezuela coach Cesar Farias said he was satisfied with the game.
“We played without a handful of our regular players,” said Farias. “But our players still played a wonderful game against Asian powerhouse Japan, who play with speed. This has brought good experience to our players.”
Japan midfielder Kagawa Shinji expressed his disappointment: “I wanted to win as we were playing at home and had many scoring chances. I myself had good chances. It’s disappointing. I should improve the accuracy of my game. I want to work harder to make sure we win the qualifier next month.”
Honda Keisuke commented: “Our opponents pressured us and we couldn’t play as we wanted. I want to train more to improve the quality of our game.”
Japan will next play the United Arab Emirates in another warm-up on September 6 in Niigata before taking on Iraq on September 11.