The host dominated the whole match, and their close victory does not reflect the complexion
Japanese wing Takefusa Kubo concedes that his team won 1-0 at Group A in the Ajinomoto Stadium.
The Real Madrid star was ‘relieved’ and eventually managed to break South Africa into a dominant performance, which almost turned into disappointment due to a list of missed opportunities.
Kubo’s goal in the 71st minute decided the game.
It was a match in which Japan could win by a larger margin if they were clinically ahead of goal.
“I’m relieved now. I’m happy and relieved. I thought I should score a goal so the team can score a goal,” Kubo said after the game.
‘I scored the goal and the team won. I’m very happy. South Africa was a good team. The South African players looked in good shape. ”
During the match, Japan threatened to win with a high score, but in the end they were limited to a slim victory.
Apart from spreading a number of chances, Japan also had a lively defense of South Africa.
Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu reflected Kubo’s sentiment that they had a difficult 90 minutes when South Africa thwarted their ambitions to score ‘more goals’.
‘We wanted to score more goals if possible. “I think the Japanese players understood that there was no easy match,” said Moriyasu.
Japan is led by veteran defender Maya Yoshida, who has played for Southampton Premier League football for seven years.
The Sampdoria defender led a group of younger players who wanted to win gold as hosts.
Yoshida feels that they can perform better than against South Africa, as they are now preparing to meet the group A leaders Mexico in their next match on Sunday.
“We managed to keep one goal. Originally we were a team that could perform better. We should have played more confident from the start. By winning this contest, the following [match] I think the team will be better, “said Yoshida.
Japan take on Mexico on Sunday, and South Africa will play against France.