After completing a full group stage in which they beat two greats such as Germany and Spain, the Selection of Japan is now quoted in the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar 2022 against Croatialast runner-up in the world (Russia 2018).
The Japanese want to keep moving forward and dreaming of more. Yuto Nagatomo, an experienced 36-year-old defender with a long history in European football, he encouraged his companions by urging them to bring out the ‘spirit of the samurai’.
The veteran player explained in a pre-match press conference what this strategy consists of: “Before going into battle they prepare their weapons and try to improve their technique. But if they are afraid during the battle they will not be able to use the weapons and the techniques properly.”
“It is a good opportunity to show the world how we can compete as samurai (…) It is the same as football. Tactics and technique is important. It doesn’t matter what we have improved. The fact is that if we are afraid we will not be able to do anything”
The Japanese also bragged in the press room about the feat of his National Team of having eliminated two football giants such as Spaniards and Germans, considering that his small country, with just over 120 million inhabitants, does not have such a deeply rooted culture towards this sport and does not have a great track record either.