At the World Cup Qatar tournament, Aoi Tanaka scored the winning goal in Japan's victory over powerhouse Spain.

She has shown her success as a “leader” in Japan’s participation in the World Cup, and has become an indispensable part of Japan’s midfield in the past year. I was there.

The “leader” who saved Japanese soccer from a predicament

Tanaka Midfielder is a midfielder who excels at controlling the game with his ability to build offenses that make full use of highly accurate passes.

About a year ago, at the age of 23 at the time, Japan's participation in the World Cup for seven consecutive tournaments was in doubt.

At that time, the Japanese national team finished 3 out of 10 matches in the final Asian qualifying round, and had 1 win and 2 losses.

The 4th match in October last year, the match against Australia, was truly a match on the edge of the ring, where one more loss was unforgivable.

Tanaka was appointed as a starting lineup for the first time as a corner of the midfield.

“I was nervous, but I played with confidence,” he said. Despite the pressure, he scored the opening goal in just eight minutes and brought momentum to the team.

Tanaka took control of the match in the midfield, and Japan regained their breath and won their sixth consecutive victory.

He was one of the key players in saving the team from the brink and qualifying for the World Cup.

His hobbies are "walking and reading" . In

Germany, he sometimes walks around his house for more than an hour.

It seems that she often wakes up early in the morning and takes a walk, and smiles bitterly, saying, "You're already a grandpa, aren't you?"

And she says she finds it refreshing to read while sitting slowly on a bench and breathing in the fresh air.

The final finishing touches to the World Cup...

Mid-September this year.

Tanaka was on his way to a training camp before the World Cup squad was decided.

(Aoi Tanaka)

“Of course, in order to survive on the national team, I have to show my individual appeal in every match, but right now, excitement and enjoyment are stronger.”

Only 2 months left until the show.

At this training camp, which was the finishing touch to building the team, he was enthusiastic about "showing his own value."

However, Tanaka was left out of the starting line-up in the warm-up match against the United States, which featured the main lineup.

Endo Wataru, who was the top player in the number of Duel wins in the German First Division league for two consecutive seasons, and Hidemasa Morita, who plays in Portugal and is also active in the European Champions League, were appointed as the starting lineup for the midfield.

Besides, it was Daichi Kamata, the playwright who scored a lot of goals in the German 1st division.

From the bench, I was impressed by the way the rivals, who were performing brilliantly in their respective clubs, showed their lively performances and won against opponents ranked higher in the world rankings.

(Aoi Tanaka)

“I feel like I have a very clear position, and it would be really frustrating if something like this happened.

Focused on "attack participation"

After that, Tanaka struggled, analyzed his own situation, and sorted out what was necessary for further growth.

(Aoi Tanaka)

“The team changes depending on how you behave in both offense and defense

. was the frequency of attack participation.

Last season, I only scored one goal in my club's league match, so I've been training my running and increasing the number of times I've been in front of the goal, but I thought I'd make that awareness even stronger.

(Aoi Tanaka) “Until now, I thought it would be great if I could show my worth on the pitch and contribute to


win, but my evaluation changes a lot depending on whether I score a goal or not.

world cup.

Due to Endo's injury, Tanaka was assigned to the starting line-up as a defensive midfielder in the match against Spain.

In the second half, when the score was tied, Tanaka, who ran into the goal, threw out the body that Kaoru Mitoma turned around and pushed in to score the winning goal.

That unrefined goal was the moment when our steady efforts to participate in the attack in front of the goal bore fruit.

After the game, Tanaka said, "This time, there were some injuries and I was given a chance to play, so I had a lot to think about, but I was conscious of leaving a result when I was out. It was a moment when I was rewarded for what I had done," he recalled.

Then, I braced myself for the next match, the first round of the finals tournament, where the best 8 will be decided.

(Aoi Tanaka)

"It was a tough group, but it's the minimum requirement to come this far. I think the next moment will change history, and I'm happy today, but I think it would be good if we could prepare for it again."