16 Sep Guam to close out AFC U20 tourney against Yemen
[September 15, 2022 – Harmon, Guam] Team expectations for the Guam U20 National Team include applying experience from previous matches and delivering its best performance of the AFC U20 Asian Cup Uzbekistan 2023™ Qualifiers in its final match of the tournament against Yemen Friday in Vientiane, Laos.
The team has already played three matches in five days, with the latest a hurtful 9-0 loss to East Asian heavyweights and group favorite Japan.
“The players right now are in the locker room and many of them are crying,” said Dominic Gadia, Guam U20 Head Coach during the Match Day 3 post-match press conference. “They’re crying not only because of the score line, but also because 1) they truly gave everything they could, and 2) everything we’ve been trying to improve on from all the previous matches happened today but it wasn’t enough. It hurts them because now they are really beginning to understand more and more about what it takes from them as players and as a team. They had a great opportunity to play against a World Cup caliber team; they had a great opportunity to really measure themselves against good opposition.
“So right now they are hurting because now they have newfound expectations of themselves and of their teammates. One more game to go and we’re hoping to see our best performance of the tournament yet in our final match against Yemen,” Gadia added.
Japan scored five goals in the first half and tacked on an additional four in the second half.
Japan is the top-ranked team in the group, featuring in the FIFA U20 World Cup ten times through Asian qualification and winning the continental tournament once in 2016.
Japan forward Kanta Chiba led Japan against Guam with a double hat trick and teammate Jiro Nakamura scored twice. Of the pair’s eight goals, two were from penalty kicks. Yoshiki Narahara scored Japan’s other goal.
The goal-scoring trio trains with and plays for various J-League teams in Japan. Chiba is currently on loan to J League 2’s FC Imabari from J League 1’s Shimizu S-Pulse. Nakamura is a winger for J League 1’s Gamba Osaka. Narahara is currently a midfielder for J League 1’s Sagan Tosu.
“So, in this really tough match schedule with only one rest day in between matches – for Guam it is already their third straight match and for us our second straight match – we already knew this was going to be really tough for both of us,” said Koichi Togashi, Japan U20 National Team Head Coach through a translator in the post-match press conference. “Our tactic was to keep moving the ball as much as possible and if we lose possession, to regain it as quickly as possible. We think this tactic worked well today.
“As we continue through the qualifier, matches are getting tougher and tougher, so we’re mainly focusing on recovery first and also reducing the risk of injuries. With these points we are focusing on, we can prepare well for our next matches,” Togashi added.
Guam will play against Yemen at 7 p.m. Laos time Friday at the KM16 Laos National Stadium after Japan’s 4 p.m. match against Palestine.
Following Friday’s matches, Guam will depart Laos back to Guam Saturday, while Japan plays its final match of the tournament Sunday at 4 p.m. against Yemen.