About 17 years ago, playing the World Cup would be simply awesome for Japan. So that, after the 1998 France World Cup, when Japan was eliminated in the group stage, the popularity of Football grew up in large scale between the japanese.
The strategy adopted of bringing international players and technical staff to Japan strengthened the sport in the country. Many Brazilian players such as Zico, Leonardo and Jorginho signed for Japanese clubs. More than that, some of them even “became” Japanese, by applying for a naturalization process. Alex Santos and Marcos Túlio were some Brazilian players who played important tournament for the Japanese team. Ricardo Higa was a Futsal Brazilian Futsal player who became the captain of the Japanese Futsal National Team.
But not only players were “imported” to Japan. Many coaches were brought to Japan and developed an international methodology there, influencing the sport development process.
Japan, the Asian Champion, was the first team to qualify for the World Cup. After that, the coach Alberto Zaccheroni asked the Japanese Football Federation for more difficult friendly matches, against more traditional national teams. With negative results, some Japanese weaknesses were evidenced and the coach almost lost his spot. However, after the draw with Netherlands and the victory against Belgium, the team got confident again and bet in a great campaign this year.
The Japanese National Team comes to this year World Cup with a very systematic football by the tactical point of view. Honda and Kagawa are the players the fans from Japan bet all their chips.
Keisuke HONDA (Milan-ITA): acurrently in Milan (Italy), the player was playing for CSKA Moscow last year. He started his career in Nagoya Grampus Eight. Since 2008 playing for the national team, he’s the responsible one for the creativity in the midfield. He was elected by Fifa the man of the three first matches Japan played in the 2010’s World Cup. Main Characteristics: passing, creativity, assists and free kicks.
Shinji KAGAWA (Manchester United-ENG): Kagawa started his career at Cerezo Osaka in Japan, but have played for Borussia Dortmund, where conquered the Bundesliga twice, and is currently playing for Manchester United, where he conquered a Premier League. Main Characteristics: passin, through balls, holding the ball.
Eiji KAWASHIMA (Standard Liège-BEL): He is the Japanese goalie since 2008 and one of the references in the defense. Also, has conquered a J-League.
Dowload in the link bellow the personalized TacticalPad project of the Japanese National Team:
* The line up and formation were based on info provided by the Japanese Football Federation and technical data from their last match, against Beligum, on November 2013.