Japan coach Yoshiro Moriyama conceded that his team could not match up to the speed, technique and accuracy of England during their 3-5 shoot-out loss in the FIFA Under-17 World Cup pre-quarterfinal.
“We need to improve on our technique, accuracy, speed and intensity on the pitch,” the veteran coach said in the post- match news conference, admitting that they’ve a long way as far as catching up with their European rivals.
“We tried to play in our own style, somethings worked, some did not. We had our gameplan knowing they were strong. We created chances. It went almost as it was planned but one thing which lacked was we failed to score.”
Moriyama was appointed coach of the Japanese U-15 side in 2013, and followed his players to the next level in 2015, with the U-17 squad.
“I was very impressed how the players played. I am very proud of them. We could show our strength playing as a unit against a strong opponent. We wanted to defend well and the boys showed character.”
Moriyama admitted that they need to improve by a few notches.
“My journey of two and half years has been very good. But we need to develop. I would want them to change these tears to energy to develop themselves,” he said about the Japanese emotional exit.
England did not have their star attacking midfielder Jadon Sancho who was recalled by Borussia Dortmund to play in the UEFA Youth League.
“It may have helped us. But I really wanted him to play in this match.”
Japan had only one substitution with their leading scorer Keito Nakamura being replaced by Naoki Tsubaki in the 54th minute.
“Thinking of the chances we got we thought of maintaining the good rhythm. I spoke to my assistant coach and decided to play with the same set of players.”
He further said it’s a tight competition among all the teams and difficult to predict the winners at this stage.
“So many teams are doing well… I cannot pick one team at the moment,” he signed off.