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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Japan vs Australia World Cup Qualifying 2010: Preview & Live Score

It is indeed a match of epic proportion. Tomorrow, Japan is going to face Australia in a world cup qualifying Asian Zone Group A match. The match is going to take place at the International Stadium Yokohama. So, I do not need to remind you that it is an important match for both the team. Well, whoever wins tomorrow’s match is going to be sure of perhaps advancing to the final of world cup 2010 which will be held in South Africa.

Japan vs Australia

Date: Wednesday, 11th February (2009)

Kick Off Time: 10:20 GMT

Venue: International Stadium Yokohama

Before anything, I would like you to look at the current standing of Group A in AFC zone. In Group A, five teams are playing and it seems that Bahrain and Uzbekistan are already out of the contention. Well, you have to remember that top two teams from the two groups will qualify for the world cup, while the third placed teams will fight against each other in the play-off and the winner of the play-off will play against Oceania champion New Zealand. The play-off match will decide if a fifth team from Asia will qualify for the world cup or the Oceania team New Zealand will qualify for the world cup.

Let us now turn our attention to tomorrow’s match. Australia is leading the group with nine points from 3 matches. This means that they have won all of their 3 matches and they are the favorite to advance to the world cup. On the other hand, Japan is in the second position with 7 points from 3 matches. They have won 2 matches and drawn one. On the other hand, Japan has plus 4 goal differences, whereas Australia has plus 6 goal differences. In the third position, it is Qatar with 4 points from 4 matches. So, this does not look very good for Qatar at the moment. There are still some matches to be played. So, it is perhaps too early to say that whether the winner of tomorrow’s winner will be assured of going to the final. Still, I think that it will be Australia and Japan considering their current form. After tomorrow’s match, Australia and Japan both will play another 4 matches.

The Australian team is in a much relaxed position, but Japan has one important advantage. Japan will play at home and you know that Japanese fans are very passionate about their football team. I remember that in 2002, Japanese supporters encouraged their players a lot during the 2002 world cup and Japan reached the second round of the tournament. So, this is something that Japan has very strong advantage in tomorrow’s match. Another important thing is that it is early February and it is very cold in Japan. I think that sometimes it snows. On the other hand, Australia is suffering from hot weather. I guess that you have already heard there has been bushfire in Australia from draught. So, Japan will have this big disadvantage of nature too. However, I want to remind you that some of the Australian players play in European league and in Europe, at this moment, it is very cold and even some countries are colder than Japan.

On the other hand, Australia has something to cheer about too. In this stage, Australia has not lost or even drawn a match. So, it is easily understand that they are in very strong form. Australian team loves to win and they have a very big challenge in front of them. If you have any idea about Australian sports then you must know that in this country most people are fan of Australian Rules football and cricket. Not too many people are addicted to soccer or what we call football. So, Australian players have to win every match impressively and they have to show their TV viewers that they are better than any Asian country. So, they will have some pressure, although Australian coach does not think that there will be any pressure on Australian players. I feel that there will be a lot of pressure and there is another important reason too. You know that Japan is a very important place for sponsorship of football. So, if some Australian players play well and can win the heart and mind of Japanese fans and the fans of Asia and South Asia and at the same time Japanese business companies, then some lucrative sponsorship deals can come. So, they will have something to play for besides just winning the match.

Before the match, Australian coach Pim Verbeek is playing mind game. He is saying different things about team selection. For example, it was thought that Tim Cahill would be at the front and he is a good striker. However, now Pim Verbeek is praising Josh Kennedy. Verbeek thinks that Josh Kennedy is very tall and he can be an aerial threat for Japanese defense. So, Australian coach is thinking of playing a mind game. Josh is 6 feet 5 inches tall and he is also good in heading. Now, the coach is saying that even he is not sure whether Tim Cahill will be in the first eleven or not. This is the way, he is trying to make the Japanese players some mentally afraid. We will see whether this strategy works. I think that Australian coach should be more focused on the match in stead of getting engaged into war of words kind of thing. Pim Verbeek is also very happy with Scott Chipperfield. Scott Chipperfield was a great player in defense in the past, but he has been suffering from injury for the last few months. So, he may have lack of match fitness. Still, the coach thinks that he will be a good player. Pim Verbeek is also very happy with his goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer. Of course, everyone in Australia is happy with this 36-year-old goalkeeper. He is in great form for the last few months for the national team. So, I think, this is one player that Pim Verbeek has placed in the right way.

On other hand, Japan will have serious problem in goalkeeping as their ace goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi is injured and will not be available for tomorrow’s match. Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was captain of Japanese national team in the past and he is very good in saving penalties. Because of a superb performance, Japanese national team could have some great result in the last five years. So, Japanese fans and the players will surely miss his presence in the match tomorrow. However, Japan will have Shunsuke Nakamura who is perhaps their best player at the moment. Nakamura said earlier today that all the Japanese players are determined and they will try their best to get the win tomorrow. He also said that Japanese players are prepared to get ugly if needed as they are ready to try every way whatever they can do to win the match. Well, it is difficult for Japanese players as they will suffer a lot of mental pressure for tomorrow’s match.

One thing that both the teams and both the fans will support tomorrow is helping the bushfire victims in Australia. You know that many people dies in bushfire in Australia and they need a lot of support from everywhere. So, tomorrow special arrangement has been made so that fans can donate money to support the victim. I am really happy for this matter and I wish that all the football playing countries can learn from the example of Japan and Australia.

I am very happy to see that an Asian rivalry is gradually starting between Japan and Australia. Of course, Australia is not in Asian continent, but now, Australia is part of AFC and thus, in football world, at least Australia is part of Asia. In Europe, there is England vs Germany rivalry, in South America, there is Argentina vs Brazil rivalry. Many people are passionate about this kind of rivalry. I am happy to see similar kind of rivalry in Asian football is emerging between Australia and Japan. Supporters of these two countries are very passionate and they are very patriotic. So, it is an exciting prospect for Asian football.

(This entry was originally published on February 2009 but unfortunately got deleted because of technical problems. So, I am again uploading it now.)

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