Comments from Japans Coach after the win over the Futsalroos
Dubai: Japan coach Miguel Rodrigo declared himself happy with the 3-0 win over Australia that took the East Asians through to the final of the 2012 AFC Futsal Championship but insisted that their game with the Futsalroos stood in stark contrast to Thailand’s hugely entertaining 5-4 extra-time win over Iran.
A combination of resolute Australian defending and disappointing finishing meant that the 2006 champions had to wait until the 32nd minute to break the deadlock at the Al Wasl Indoor Stadium when skipper Kenichiro Kogure opened the scoring before goals from Wataru Kitihara and Rafael Henmi put the gloss on the victory.
“This was a difficult, ugly game for us. It was not a good game when compared with the earlier semi-final,” Rodrigo said at the post-match press conference.
“The first semi-final was pure futsal and a very attractive game. That game shows why futsal is precious and deserves to be promoted. In Spain and Brazil there are regularly games like that and that is why you regularly get 3000 spectators at the gymnasium there.
“In the first half I suppose we were a little bit nervous and we couldn’t penetrate their defensive block. We lacked movement and we lost simple balls but the worse thing was our finishing. We had three or four clear chances but didn’t take them and we have been seeing this is the last few games.
“The second half started very much like the first until ten minutes in and we scored. The players relaxed a little bit after that and played their usual game. But generally speaking we deserved the win.”
Japan’s victory set up a final showdown with Thailand, who overcame an early 2-0 deficit to defeat defending champions Iran 5-4 after extra-time to ensure there will be a name other the Iran on the AFC Futsal Championship for only the second time in the tournament’s history.
But Rodrigo knows that Japan need to improve their finishing if they are to defeat a free-flowing Thailand side that the Spaniard insists are now favourites for the title.
“If we are to beat Thailand then we really need to improve in many areas but particularly in shooting,” he said.
“This is a very Japanese problem. It’s a problem of decision making.
“This is not an excuse but there were three occasions when there were open goals that we missed. Of course in this match the players were tense, nervous and a little bit tired but futsal requires maximum decision making at all times.
‘This is very difficult for a coach to work on and that is why those that have this sense of scoring in football earn a lot of money and are very precious.
“The problem in Japan is that players start playing futsal from about the age of 20 and this is too late to acquire a sense a making an immediate decision when confronted with a small target. In Brazil or Spain kids are learning this from about the age of six.”