Takeshi Togairin, head coach of the Japan national soccer team, compares the soccer cultures of Korea and Japan.
The Japan national soccer team took on the Korea national soccer team at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday at Anyang Sports Complex for the 22nd DENSO Cup Korea-Japan College Soccer Tournament. Japan defeated Korea 2-1 to win its second consecutive DENSO Cup.
The DENSO Cup 스포츠토토 is the predecessor of the Korea-Japan College Football Tournament, which has been held since 1972. It was renamed the DENSO Cup in 2004 when Japanese auto parts company DENSO officially began sponsoring the tournament. Since 2004, South Korea’s starting team has an all-time record of 8 wins, 2 draws, and 10 losses, trailing Japan.
Here’s something interesting. In the Denso Cup matches that have alternated between South Korea and Japan, the home team has always won. Japan defeated South Korea 1-0 in the 21st edition in Saitama, Japan in March this year. However, the balance was upset in the 22nd match. The visitors took their first win on Korean soil.
Speaking to the media after the game, Coach Togairin said, “It’s great to win. The players played hard. I’m happy to lift the trophy in an away game.” “It was not an easy game for Japan to play in Korea. We were able to win thanks to the support of many people and a little bit of luck. I am grateful.”
“This is the first time Japan has won away from home. The main characters are not me, the coach, but our players. It’s my job as a coach to show leadership and lead the players. I’m grateful to the players for following my lead.”
In recent years, the gap between Korean and Japanese soccer has widened. In terms of national team performance, South Korea has won one, drawn three and lost two of its six A matches this year. Their most recent win came against Saudi Arabia, their first of the year.
Japan, on the other hand, has won four games and drawn one this year, including a 4-1 victory over European powerhouse Germany and a 4-2 win over Turkiye. The German and Turkiye soccer federations fired their respective coaches shortly after the losses to Japan and appointed new coaches.
When asked about the reason for Japan’s rise, Togairin said, “I think what they have been studying and preparing for a long time is now paying off. Both players and staff have worked hard,” he said.
“It is difficult for me to objectively evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Korean soccer because I have only coached in Japan. Japan is good at passing to connect with each other. Korea is good at playing with the ball in the air because of their height,” he said.
In this match, Korea’s strong physicality stood out. Japan countered with organic passing as a weapon. “We already knew that the Korean college team had a physical advantage,” said Togaireen. We told our players about the height of the Korean players in advance and confirmed it,” said Togairin.