This is what I feel after interviewing Hajime Moriyasu, the coach of Japan's national soccer team, who is a caring gamer
The Japanese national team won the first round of the World Cup Qatar tournament, Group E, and decided to advance to the final tournament for the second consecutive tournament.
Coach Moriyasu took over as coach after the tournament in Russia four years ago, and was entrusted with long-term team building.
(Yoshihiro Takeda, sports news department reporter)
A person of "passion" and "care"
What kind of person is Director Moriyasu?
I have been interviewing Coach Moriyasu for about two and a half years since before the Tokyo Olympics.
Before the first round match against Germany on November 23rd, when the national anthem was being sung, "Kimigayo" was sung, and tears came to my eyes.
He says that singing the national anthem before a match makes him realize that he is representing Japan.
On the other hand, the way he treats everyone without discrimination is also very impressive.
At the beginning of the practice, when he appeared on the ground, he bowed to each member of the press who visited for coverage and shooting.
Furthermore, when the press conference is over and I leave the venue, I will bow to the press and leave the place.
Before the start of the tournament, when children from the Japanese school in Doha and related people visited the training facility to encourage the athletes, they approached themselves and said, "I will do my best to deliver energy and courage. Thank you for your support. Let's fight together."
Director Moriyasu seen from behind the team
Even the people behind the scenes who support the team agree that Director Moriyasu is a "caring person."
Trainer Hiroshi Maeda, who has been involved with the Japan national team since 2007, says, "When it's time for us to finish our work, he always says, 'Thank you.' .
Seiko Sakai, a technical staff member, said, "He observes people well and is managed by paying attention not only to the players but also to the staff. He respects each role and respects the decisions made by the staff. I will make use of it in the field."
player first manager
What kind of coach do the players think of Coach Moriyasu?
Last September, Japan was competing in the final round of the Asian qualifiers to qualify for the World Cup Qatar tournament, but Takehiro Tomiyasu, who is the key to defense, joined the national team in order to transfer to the English Premier League and Arsenal. was late.
Captain Maya Yoshida cites this case as an example, saying, ``In the important match of the first match of the final qualifying, we focused on the individual career of the player who was a regular player and skipped the reunion. There is no other coach who puts the athletes first.
A relationship of trust with players
There are also players who have responded to the strong trust of Coach Moriyasu with their results.
Forward Takuma Asano has had a player-manager relationship ever since Moriyasu coached Sanfrecce.
In September, just before the tournament, he injured his right knee and has been unable to play for his club since then.
Despite this, Coach Moriyasu believed in Asano's recovery and included him in the squad for the finals.
Asano was enthusiastic, saying, "The fact that he was selected in this situation is proof that he really expects me. This can only be repaid with results. I will do my best to play for the team and the manager." .
And as expected, Asano, who was sent out midway through the match against Germany, scored a come-from-behind goal to lead the team to victory.
“Doha Tragedy” to “Doha Delight”
Coach Moriyasu, as an individual, has a special feeling about this Qatar tournament.
This is because Qatar, which became the stage of "The Tragedy of Doha," is a land of fate for director Moriyasu.
In 1993, the 25-year-old coach Moriyasu played in the final Asian qualifier match against Iraq in Doha.
Just before the end of the match with a 1-point lead, the opponent's cross ball went over the head of Coach Moriyasu and his header was sucked into the goal.
The long-cherished wish of Japanese football and the dream of Coach Moriyasu and others were shattered just one step away.
He says that he still remembers the scene where he conceded the goal clearly, but he has almost no memory of what happened after the match, saying, "I only remember myself crying and looking down."
I blamed myself for being passive, wondering if I should have put more pressure on the player who threw the cross ball, and I was so depressed that people around me were worried.
When I returned to the hotel and was looking out from the balcony, Tetsuji Hashiratani, the captain at the time, who was in the same room as me, asked me if I was okay. I think,” he recalls.
Twenty-nine years have passed since the Doha tragedy, and even now, in my position as the head of the Japan national team, the lessons of that day are deeply engraved.
I try not to lose my aggressive stance, saying, ``If you go on the defensive, you will be defeated instead.''
The World Cup's first league match against Germany and the third match against Spain.
Director Moriyasu showed the face of a "gambler" in Doha.
In the second half, when they were chasing a goal, they brought in attacking players such as MITOMA Kaoru and DOAN Ritsu one after another to take the lead.
Even after the score was tied, they played aggressively without losing their stance of aiming for a goal, and won the come-from-behind victory against the two teams that had won the World Cup.
In particular, in the third match against Spain, he said that he felt a sense of emotion while leading the team toward victory.
Germany, who played in the same time zone, led by 2 points in the closing stages of the match.
They were ahead of Japan in goal difference.
Japan leads Spain 2-1 with a 1-point lead.
If Japan were able to tie the score in the remaining time, they would have been overtaken by Germany to finish 3rd in the group and miss out on advancing to the knockout stages.
“In the end, I was fighting because I thought that if we didn’t win, we wouldn’t be able to advance to the first league.In the last minute or so, memories of Doha came to my mind. When I saw that, I thought, 'The times have changed.' During the game, I thought, 'The players are playing in a new era.'
From here we aim for the best 8 in Japan's history.
Coach Moriyasu continues his challenge to see a “new landscape” that Japanese football has not yet reached.
"I want to turn 'Doha Tragedy' into 'Doha Joy.'
Sports news department reporter
Joined in 2009 In charge