Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The End of the Line - Japan Loses to Paraguay 5-3

The dramatic end came for the Samurai Blue of Japan after 120 scoreless minutes against Paraguay that concluded with the dreaded penalty shootout in where one missed goal cost them their entry into quarterfinals but not out of World Cup History.

Any way you summarize Japan's performance in this 2010 World Cup, there is absolutely no way anyone can deny that Japan who had been underrated from the start exceeded expectations even from within Japan itself. Take into consideration Japan has only been playing Futbol Soccer for just over a decade; they outperformed many of the top rated European powerhouse teams including some of which that went home in utter disgrace. This speaks volumes for Japan as a Futbol playing nation. They have come a long way in a short amount of time. Japan has absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Top striker Keisuke Honda had been named man of the match more than once and the Samurai Blue had energized Japan into a nation of believers. Japan can hold its head up high and recognize itself as an emerging force to be reckoned with. This will certainly not be the last World Cup for Japan. Instead, the world can expect the Samurai Blue to strike harder and play to win and win they shall!

Despite much initial criticism for Japan's earlier losses in the warmup matches, Coach Takeshi Okada had taken Japan into the round of 16 and within striking range of the quarterfinals. A feat no one expected! Okada is quoted as saying: "I personally don't want to base everything on just one result or just one competition. We need to have a longer-term vision, to estimate and evaluate the level of Japanese football. We need to be aware of the journey and the path which is still ongoing." He went on to add: "This competition is a very good way to measure the level of a national team. This World Cup, for the fact we've been able to get this far, it is not only a credit for myself and my players, but also for the Futbol Soccer community of Japan as a whole. I think objectively we can say with certainty that the overall level of the Japan players now is much higher than in the past. As for how far we can go, we keep challenging and keep going forward - that's all."

To both Coach Okada and the entire Samurai Blue of Japan,
I say to you Domo Arigatou' Gozaimashite for an amazing journey that will continue on!
ぼんざい! ぼんざい! ぼんざい!

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