Who's Japan's best keeper as of now?

Discussion in 'Asian Football Confederation' started by K_19, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. K_19

    K_19 New Member

    Aug 29, 2002
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I've been wondering this ever since this yr's world cup, because I was very surprised to see Seigo Narazaki play most of the Japan's games instead of Yoshikatsu (sp?) Kawaguchi... Ever since 98 I've always seen mostly Kawaguchi in net for Japan and thought he was their choice as unanimous keeper... plus he plays for Portsmouth in England now right? (although I do hear he's a backup) From what I've seen he's a spectacular goalie and i found it strange that he doesn't play that much for Japan anymore since in my opinion he is a better keeper than Narazaki (who's pretty solid from what I've seen though). So was it because he didn't get his regular playing time in England Troussier chose to start Narazaki over him? That's my main suspect... Or is it like Kim/Lee's case in Korea where Hiddink simply favoured one goalie over the other? (Hiddink chose a less-spectacular but more consistent and dependable guy in Lee) Or was personal conflict with the coach or age an issue?

    Anyhow, who in your opinion is the best Japanese keeper?
  2. tough to say now. with current situation, kawaguchi will just fade away. narazaki did good during the wc but i want him to have more experience oversea
  3. Nakata10

    Nakata10 New Member

    Aug 20, 2001
    Planet FIFA
    Kawaguchi was slightly injured when he came back to join the WC squad. From the beginning it seemed that Troussier wanted both keepers. Narazaki was in favor at first, but after the miserable blow out against France (5-0), he started to use Kawaguchi more. During the Confederations Cup, Kawaguchi literally saved Japan from many tough angles. His quickness, and read of the game is his strong point. But with the injury he was carrying as well as tall opponents such as Belgium and Russia, Narazaki was in favor for the WC. Kawaguchi is known to have trouble with high crosses etc.

    I don't think Kawaguchi will fade away. He still needs to prove himself in England. If he does that it will give us more options for 2006.

    I am more excited and troubled about our midfield choices that Zico will include. I read that Argentina will be bringing a solid squad and if this happens, Japan needs to bring Ono, Inamoto, Nakata, Suzuki, Nakamura back for this. If this happens, what formation do we play? and who plays in the midfield???? Suzuki seems to be playing in the right wing or left wing at the moment, so things gets more interesting.

    I really can't wait till the Jamaica match. I am not hopping to have a spectacular result but more interested in what formation and style Zico will bring to us. Its a new coach and I am sure things will change.
  4. Ticallista

    Ticallista Member

    Jul 5, 2002
    i hear it might be 4-4-2.

    should try nakata and inamoto in the middle, nakamura on the left, and ono on the right.

    it looks like japan's got too many AMC players.
  5. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Right now I'd take Narazaki over Kawaguchi.

    Kawaguchi, on the right night, can be absolutely world class and almost win a game for you, but on other nights can be extremely combustable and look pretty bad. Narazaki, while not as showy as Kawaguchi, is a very solid keeper and - in my opinion - a more stable presence in the back.

    I could only find one goal in the World Cup that I would've directly attributed to keeper error - not sure if that would've been so had Kawaguchi been in net.

    Regarding keepers for the future, perhaps either Yuta Minami or Hitoshi Sogahata?
  6. K_19

    K_19 New Member

    Aug 29, 2002
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I remember where Kawaguchi made the most impression on me now... during Confederation cup like Nakata10 said... he was so spectacular during that tournament.

    I remember Minami, he's the keeper from the 1999 Nigeria tournament right? I remember he made couple key saves during the penalty shootout against one of the teams (can't quite remember which team they faced) I thought back then he was supposed to be their keeper of the future... which J-League team is he in now and how has his performance been?
  7. TrooperBari

    TrooperBari Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Minami is still with Reysol.


    As per his performance, it's a bit hard to tell as the entirety of Kashiwa wasn't playing well through Steve Perryman's last days.
  8. Yuke

    Yuke New Member

    Dec 8, 2001
    My favorite goalies are Sogahata of Kashima Antlers and Tuzuki of Gamba Osaka.

    Sogahata is a very solid one in the all areas(physical, technical, mental aspects) required for a goalie. At the age of 22, he might be too young to give the team as much influence as Kawaguchi, but he is better at least physically and technically(he was raised in Kashima's junior and youth teams). BTW, he was a backup(3d) goalie for Japan U-20 '99(WYC Nigeria), Japan U-23(Sydney Olympic), Confederations' Cup and WC Korea/Japan.

    Tuzuki is another quality one, but it seems like he's having problems with his club's coach now.

    Yet, the best one is definitely Kawaguchi. As some have pointed out, he has problems in the air because of his height at 179cm, but his overall experiences, including the fact that he plays in England, are very unique that no other Japanese goalies have never gone through.

    Also, I recently found out the fact in Magazine "Number" that Omiya Aldija(Division 2 team) GK Kawashima was honored one of the youth tournament's best players . The 18 years old boy played as the GK of Parma's youth team while he stayed and trained there for about a month this year.

    As for Japan's national team, I'd think Zico will find problems in defense. Japan's only and true international class defender is Yokohama's Matsuda(Miyamoto is too short and lacks physique as a central defender). We really need good central defenders as well as sidebacks if Zico uses 4 men in defense line.
  9. what about morioka? didn't mastuda stink occasionally in his defense and also crossing ball?
  10. Yuke

    Yuke New Member

    Dec 8, 2001
    Yeah, Matsuda makes big mistakes every once awhile, but his physique, agility and speed are are at intenational level. Having said this, though, I think he doesn't play 100% in J.League, and that seems to be stopping him to develop further.

    I don't like Morioka, simply because he doesn't have those abilities, which are absolutely neccessarly for a really good central defender. He can be easily faked and get passed around in one-on-one situations. And I remember he was knocked off by Ahn JH's one-arm push in a friendly vs S.Korea 2 years ago(and he scored after that).

    If our defense is so weak, we can't afford to field more of our creative players upfront, or Nakamura and Ono may be forced to work on defense for 75% of the game. We don't wanna see that again.
  11. Matsu

    Matsu Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    At last, someone on this thread is talking sense.

    Sogahata is already the consensus pick as best keeper in Japan, among people who actually understand football. Kawaguchi and Narazaki are popular with a larger number of people especially among "miha" (star-chasing fans) and young girls, but Sogahata is a far better player. Lots of the soccer magazines criticised Troussier for not using Sogahata in the world cup.

    Kawaguchi was good at one time, but right now he is out of shape and he is also starting to get old. Narazaki has talent, but he makes too many dumb mistakes like on the goal in the Belgium match. He may be good for a club team, but he is too unreliable to be the national team's first string.

    I liked the performance of Tsuzuki last season, and he even got some national team opportunities but he got injured and he hasnt played in a long time. Nobody can really understand what happened to Minami. He seemed very good up to about a year or two ago, but since then he has been awful. Probably that is partly the fault of Steve Perryman, the vampire of the J.League who has managed to suck the life out of every team and players that he meets. But still, I dont think Minami will be able to get back into the national team picture unless he makes a total recovery and starts playing flawless matches for six months or so. He did so badly last season and the first half of this season that his reputation right now is very low.

    As for Yuke's comments about defenders, you are making comments about players in a flat 3 formation. Zico Japan will use a 4-4-2, and the demands for that type of position are completely different. I think there are LOTS of good candidates for central DF in a 4-4-2: Matsuda, Nakazawa, Tsuboi, Moniwa, Tomisawa, Morioka, Kaimoto, etc.etc.etc. Also with a 4-4-2 players like Araiba, Hirakawa, Ichikawa, Ichihara, Tanaka Hayuma and Komano will have a chance to play on the National Team as a side back, which they didnt have a chance before under Troussier.
  12. Yuke

    Yuke New Member

    Dec 8, 2001
    Regarding our defenders, I was talking about 4 backs.

    If it's 3, then we may be able to afford some sweeper, like Morioka or Miyamoto. But IMO, if it's 4, we need two strong central DFs. They can't be beaten because there is not one extra DF behind them.

    Ofcouse, the system is just a system, and the defense line could be 3 or 5 at times. And the defense requires more organisation than offense, so central MFs will be another critical position.

    Anyway, my point is that it's time for our DFs to grow up. We have good midfield, and to help the team concentrate more on offense, we need to have good defense men. In the last WC, we spared too much men and time for defense, and it spoiled talents of Ono, Nakamura and Morishima.

    Well, here's my list of favorite defenders. I like physical fighters, but they need to have basic skills like physique, speed, covering, heading, tackling, line-controlling etc. Some are below average in some categories though.

    May be too old to be picked in 2006?? Best fighter in the league
    Already mentioned..
    Fighter and strong in the air, though he had a problem in the air vs Norwegians
    Balanced, all-round DF, yet he has problem against fast, agile attackers
    Very fast and quick, but he's weak in the air
    Very physical but lacks consistency

    Ikeda and Moniwa looked good in the friendly vs China. Some Toulon defenders looked good. As some media point out, Using Fukunishi as DF may be an interesting challenge, even though that attemp at Iwata wasn't all successful 2 years ago.

    For sidebacks, I like:

    Yes, I like Araiba a lot, even though he has to improve his defense. Nakanishi, Hattori and Tsuchiya can be best defensive SBs. Some are not used to played as SBs, but those are another interesting challenges.

    BTW, I expected 4 years ago that Seiji Koga(Koga's younger bro at Avispa Fukuoka) to be deadly SBs/Winger for Japan with his speed, physique and powerful long-range shot and FK.
  13. Matsu

    Matsu Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    It all depends on the way the players are used. Troussier's flat three only used two stationary backs anyway, because Koji Nakata always went forward on attack. Thats why it was weak, and not so much because of the players ability. In a purely Brazilian style 4-4-2 (assuming thats the way Zico will organise, because after all he is a Brazilian), one of the two middle defenders is a libero, who doesnt mark a man but just cleans up the loose balls. The other one is the stopper who takes the first striker into the attack. The other strikers or midfielders are picked up by the DF midfield and the wing backs. Watch the way Akita and Fabiano play if you want an idea of the way the two central backs are used in a 4-4-2. There is ALWAYS an extra man back, so even if Akita gets beaten, Fabiano will be there to clean up.

    This is where I disagree with you. The main reason why the midfielders had to spend so much time playing defence at the World Cup is that the flat three wasted Nakata and Ichikawa in positions that were not really supporting the defence. Troussier has his philosophy of football called the "Flat Three" and he wanted to force Japanese players to fit into this philosophy, even if they are not well suited for it. I dont think that is any reflection on the quality of the players, although I admit that Miyamoto has weaknesses as a central defender. He should probably play defensive midfield instead, in a 4-4-2 lineup

    As for your list of players, you have some good points but I think you are living in the past. None of those players will be on the NT in 2006. The players who will have a chance to play in central defence in 2006 will include people like Moniwa, Tsuboi, Mikami, Tomizawa, Uemura, and Kaimoto. All the players you named except Matsuda and Nakazawa dont have a chance to make the 2002 team cause theyre too old. As for the players I just named, every one of them is over 180cm and can play solid central defence even against tall strikers.

    Remember 2006 is still four years away. Anybody over age 25 or 26 is almost certainly out of the picture for 2006.
  14. Yuke

    Yuke New Member

    Dec 8, 2001
    I understand your idea of libero(Fabiano)-stopper(Akita). That's a very conventional defense paring for the past 3 decades.

    But my veiw remains the same because I saw Morioka and K.Nakata got beaten easily so many times. They can't win a ball in one-on one. I don't neglect the fact that defense should be more or less organised. But it's aweful as a central defender that they can't tackle and steal a ball because those are ones of the most critical elements required for a central defender.

    From what I understand, that was what Troussier and Okada saw too(Trousser with flat line, and Okada with 2 stoppers and 1 sweeper). I think these facts may underline my view that we have few real central defense men. I don't know if those Toulon and other U-21 DFs are that good. They have a room to be alot better defenders, but we don't know if they can be internationally competitive defenders. And it usually takes more time for a defender to be matured than offensive players, especially those who are not playing in world's toughest leagues. That is why we often see many defenders in the early-mid 30 are still playing as cornerstones in defense.

    So, that was my point as to why I've added the veterans(Akita, Ohiwa, Nakanishi, Suzuki, Hattori etc) in my list. I'm not saying this because I'm some grampy old man living in the past :)

    Aside from our defenders' quality aspect, I simply find it more fun in 4 because it tends to give more flexibility and depth(and risk) than 3, even though I'm not necessarily against 3. I'm sure Zico will be more flexible in the system because he's not a French man suffering from some obsessions in himself. It'll be 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 at times, depending on the situations they face during a game.

    Anyways, I think the basic formation will be 4-3-2-1 or 4-2-3-1. What do you think the formation will be and how players, from youth to veterans, will be fit in it?
  15. Korean Football

    Korean Football New Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    the only Kaimoto I know is the one in the K-League!

    what team does THIS Kaimoto play?
  16. efren95

    efren95 Member

    Apr 20, 2000
    Republic of Texas
    I am not privy to the rest of Japanese goalkeepers, to be honest.

    But the images of Kawaguchi's heroic saves during the Confederation Cup are still vivid in my mind.

    What a goalkeeper... I hope he keeps in shape and ready to rumble for Japan.

    Asian football impresses me a great deal for its purity and tenacity and I enjoy watching it on World Football

  17. Yuke

    Yuke New Member

    Dec 8, 2001
    I think Matsu is referring to Keiji Kaimoto, a brother of Kaijiro Kaimoto playing in Korea.

    Keiji Kaimoto, a Nagoya GrampusEight defender, was a member of Japan's Asian Cup winning team. He played one game in the tournamet, vs Qatar which was his debut for the national side but was sent off early with 2 yellows.
  18. yeah i remember that and after the game he asked troussier for another chance which he never got.
  19. Matsu

    Matsu Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Keiji Kaimoto was traded from Grampus to Gamba at the end of last year. He had three very good matches at the start of 2002 but then he got injured. He is a tall and powerful central defender, but he is not that mobiel, and he could never fit into the "flat three" idea of Troussier. But he is still a very good central defender and hopefully he can prove that when he recovers from his injury.
  20. Nakata10

    Nakata10 New Member

    Aug 20, 2001
    Planet FIFA
    Somehow this GK thread morphed into the midfeilders, defenders and formation thread. Cool, well I still think Morioka can be a central defender. Even though he may not as be strong like Matsuda or Akita, he really has a good read of the game. His approach was not as a flat 3 approach but a delayed approach mixed with flat 3. Miyamoto was more of a strict line controlling player. This is clear when you watch the Belgium match, after Morioka gets injured Miyamoto comes in. The line becomes more aggressive to push up and that second goal is a product of a beaten offside trap. I dunno if Morioka would have prevented it but the tactical aspect of the defense line clearly changed when Miyamoto came on. I think that goal made him rethink about the whole defense line control. The other games he did play more safer than his usual pushing up style.

    We can still use a 3-5-2 which I think might suit Japan more. But I think formations are only a starting point anyways, it comes down to the flexibilty of the team to adapt and fielding the right players.

    One month and we get to see what Zico is hiding up his sleeves. I am curious to know now.

    I think Toda should be given a chance again as DM or a defender. His aggressive style works better in the midfield than in a goal area(for unwanted PK's and FK's) but he is strong and has a good ability to read the game or disrupting the play with whatever it takes. He did play RB in the Confederations Cup against Canada.(I believe) But I have a feeling he is gonna become the Dunga of our team.

    I am actually looking forward for Nakata's new position at Parma. Maybe he can learn to play a deeper midfielder. If he does, I think it would be excelent choice for Zico. Still Nakamura, Ono, Inamoto, Nakata, Alex, Ichikawa, is too offensive and we do lack numbers on the wing. Brazilian style requires great wingbacks. Comparing our wings to Cafu and Roberto Carlos is not fair but we really don't have one aside from Alex.
  21. skipshady

    skipshady New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Orchard St, NYC
    Can anyone tell me what kind of midfield Zico will play? Assuming he goes with 4-4-2, he could play:
    - English style: two central mids with two wings
    - diamond: volante, attacking mid and two sides
    - box: two volantes, two attacking mids

    I'd like to see the box midfield, with Toda and Inamoto as the volantes, and Nakata and Ono as the attackers with wing backs making runs up the flanks. For me, this style protects the defense while allowing the attackers freedom to operate.
  22. Matsu

    Matsu Member

    Mar 28, 2001


    The only reason Japan national team hasnt used wing backs is because of Troussier's stupid flat three. Japan has better wing backs than just about any other position. Even though they are too old to play in the national team in 2006, Narahashi and Soma are still world class wing backs. Then you have Araiba, Ichikawa (who has always been better as a wing back than a wing.) IshikawaN., Yamada N., Hato (see comments about Ichikawa), Wanami, Uchida, Nemoto, Tanaka H., Komano . . . (how many have I named so far?)

    The point is I can think of a dozen top-quality candidates for national team wing back just off the top of my head. I couldnt name anywhere near that many defensive mids or strikers. The only position that Japan might have more of than wing backs is attacking midfielders. Just because none of them have ever been named to the national team means nothing. That is all the blame of Troussier, and his inability to select a formation based on Japan's best strengths. Wing back has always been a strength of Japanese teams.
  23. skipshady

    skipshady New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Orchard St, NYC
    Ah, Narahashi and Soma - they were two of my favorite players at France '98. Too bad Troussier was so stubborn about sticking to the 3-5-2, another example of a coach favoring system over the players that led to the fall of a few teams at the World Cup.

    With a 4-4-2, the attack would have been more dynamic and it would have allowed Nakata and Ono to concentrate on attacking more.
  24. Nakata10

    Nakata10 New Member

    Aug 20, 2001
    Planet FIFA
    Matsu good point, yes Troussier`s style of 3-5-2 was not for wing backs to exploit the sides and Narahashi and Soma are some of the players I missed from the this squad to WC 98.(Nanami too.) but I am not sure if they are world class. They are great players but lacks a little more creativity. Am I asking to much about that??? I thought Ichikawa was not as aggressive and during the WC and pre WC, his only assets were the early crosses. It could have been a tactical thing since we were playing a counterattack game mixed with pressing higher up the field, but Ichikawa really didn't convince me with his skills. When I refered to world class I had more of a speedy dribbler with creativity in my mind. Soma showed hint of that during WC 98, Hato was speedy but not as accurate in his passing. Troussier was stuck on his philosophy and style but he kept his promise to advance to the round of 16th. As much as the controversial lineup, substitutions for the Turkey match, I think he did alot of good for the development of our team, youth and I still thank him for his efforts. Zico will have to top what Troussier did and carry a high expectations from everyone. At this point, I have no idea what he is gonna do. He has promised us with attacking football but what does that mean??? The logical progression is to keep building on this young team rather than breaking it apart and do everything over. Keep it a 3-5-2 with wing backs. Personally, I would like to see this formation now,

    Matsuda, Morioka, Toda as the 3 backs, Morioka will be more of a sweeper type. This requires Toda to be more aware of his fouls.(YIKES!!!!) I wish Nakazawa had more skill. His height and strength is much needed in the back.

    Alex, Ichikawa on the wings, Nakata(Nakamura if attacking midfield position is employed), Ono, Inamoto in the midfield straight across. These midfielders have a good read of when to attack and pull back so there is no stationary attacking midfielder. If Nakamura is in, then I would have to pull Ono or Nakata out and put in a defensive midfielder. Fukunishi, Nakata K, Hattori, and Nanami are other candidates for the midfield.

    Takahara and Yanagiswa(or Suzuki or Morishima) as forwards. This is an attacking team but at the same time it will require our 3 midfielders to be more skilled in defending.
  25. Yuke

    Yuke New Member

    Dec 8, 2001
    Soma and Narahashi...They are not world-class sidebacks because they are beaten too frequently, even in J.League. Not much physique, speed, technique and accurate passing.

    Nakanishi is a bit old, but even though he's not that technical, he is fast, quick and strong. And what I like about him is that he can be a stopper if necessary when the other SB overlaps.

    If such SB as Nakanishi takes one side, attacking SBs like Alex or Araiba may be a good pick for the left SB. As the Japan's MFs(Nakata, Nakamura, Ono, Inamoto) are not so quick and fast, Alex or Araiba will be in great demand to give the speed in offense. Alex and Araiba can set up a goal and also score a goal. I really believe they can give more dimension to the offense.

    Anyhow, why don't you guys post your formation/roster/starting lineup here. I think that could make it easier for us to understand what you are really thinking in your mind(or you are not thinking at all:)

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