Samurai Blue put Reggae Boyz to the sword
Japan 4 Kubo (32nd), Endo (42nd), Ueda (57th), Doan (63rd) Jamaica 0Sunday, June 13, 2021
TOKYO, Japan — In a sloppy display which should never be archived for young and upcoming players to see, the Reggae Boyz coughed up arguably their worst performance in the modern era of Jamaica's football on Saturday.
While there were no points and trophy at stake, still this is not the display supporters of the national senior men's team have come to expect, especially with important tournaments on the horizon.
It was not easy to find the adjectives to describe what unfolded in the 4-0 whipping by Japan Under-24s in the friendly contest at Toyota Stadium in Aichi.
For Jamaica, the contest was marked by a lack of imagination, basic football discipline across all areas of the field, and worst, the failure to recognise all the above to regroup and possibly restore some measure of pride.
One wonders if the Japanese were all that good or were the Jamaicans all that bad. Perhaps a little bit of both.
For sure, Takefusa Kubo, known as the “Japanese Messi”, was a cut above everyone on the field that day, masterminding almost every offensive undertaking for his team.
It was no surprise when the 20-yeard-old Real Madrid attacker, on loan to Spain's Getafe, got the first goal when he struck in the 32nd minute.
His effort was followed by strikes from other influencers VfB Stuttgart midfielder Wataru Endo (42nd), forward Ayase Ueda (57th) and midfielder Ritsu Doan (63rd).
In specific areas of domination, the Japanese were clearly more clinical in their passing and off the ball game throughout the contest.
Jamaica, on the other hand, were very scrappy in possession and regularly gave away the ball in crucial areas of the pitch, turnovers that allowed the Japanese to lay siege on the Boyz' goal.
The Japan quartet of midfielders Endo, Doan and Kubo, plus striker Daizen Maeda proved more than a handful for Jamaica's defenders and back-tracking midfielders with their polished passing and clever movement around their opponents' box.
Boyz defenders Rotherham United's Curtis Tilt and Reading FC Captain Liam Moore laboured in the back.
The Jamaica three-prong attack of Costa Rica-based Javon East, El Salvador-based Kemal Malcolm and Ostersunds Blair Thurgott failed to click and was harmless all the way.
In midfield, Jamaica did not show up for work as free agent Ravel Morrison, Phoenix Rising's Kevon Lambert and Miami FC's Devon Williams could not get their harmony on key.
There was a hint of Jamaican resistance when seniors Bristol City defender Adrian Mariappa, Al-Ittihad centre-back Damion Lowe, Los Angeles Lakers wide man Oniel Fisher and Watford striker Andre Gray were brought into the lifeless party from a Jamaica point of view.
But long before that, the writing was always on the wall that this was not going to be an evening stroll for the Boyz as the Samurai Blue, swords drawn, had the visitors at blade's end from very early.
In the 16th minute, Japan's most telling move to this point of the game came when the deadly duo of Doan and Kubo combined down the right side, but the former's low cross inside miraculously missed every friendly boot in the box.
Four minutes later, indecisive defending by the Boyz gifted possession yet again to Japan, with the final ball coming to the dangerous Kubo whose left-footed rocket slammed into the upright and out of play.
They threatened again in the 22nd minute through Endo, whose low drive was well-handled by Dillon Barnes, whose debut was not going to plan.
The balding Maeda had a chance in the 29th minute to finish off pleasing one-two play between Kubo and Doan, when he turned quickly from 16 yards to unleash, but Barnes was well-placed to parry.
The deadlock was broken in the 34th minute by you know who — Kubo. From a lightning restart from a water break, the Jamaicans were taken aback as Kubo was released down the right flank.
The talented player then cut inside of defender Curtis Tilt, fired with his favourite left foot, and then watched as the ball hugged the turf and between the legs of three Jamaican defenders before beating a blind-sided Barnes.
Feeling cheated, the Boyz protested to referee Yudai Yamamoto, claiming that he allowed the restart after some were still gathered at the touchline for the water break. Even though they were being outplayed up this point, the goal may have dented the Boyz' will to mount a comeback.
Japan got their second goal when Jamaica gave away the ball meekly, giving the fast counter-attacking hosts another line of fire. Following quick combination play, the ball found Endo at the edge of the 18-yard box and he confidently curled the ball into the goal with the right boot.
As it was in the beginning, so it was in the end as the hosts kept up their sway over the Jamaicans, finding the net twice more.
With the scoring chances too many to keep up with, it makes sense to only focus on the goals.
Japan got their third goal when Ueda cheekily chipped the ball over Barnes. They closed out their show when Doan made easy work of beating the Jamaican custodian from close after Yuki Soma's cutback and lay off.
Embarrassingly for Jamaica, they uncharacteristically failed to create a single goal-scoring opportunity in 90-plus minutes of football, while 17 efforts were counted for the Japanese
Played before a few thousand spectators, the Jamaicans failed to reproduce any of the quality that was on display in their 1-1 draw against Serbia in Kobe on Monday.
For Saturday's match, the Boyz fielded a team that mostly featured players who either did not play against Serbia or came in as substitutes — part of the coaching team's plan to give all 19 players here playing time.
Assistant Coach Jerome Waite managed from the touchline in the absence of Head Coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore who was said to be suffering from a stomach bug and was ordered to rest by medical staff.
In another mark of home dominance, the Japan senior team — which was due to play Jamaica in the first of three games before the fixture was cancelled — defeated Serbia 1-0 on Friday.
Japan will pull its Olympic football team from the Under-24 squad as the country prepares to host the Olympic Games in three weeks.
Teams: Japan — KoseiTani (Zion Suzuki 46th), Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, Koki Machida (Ayumu Seko 46th), Reo Hatate, Wataru Endo, Kaoru Mitoma (Yuki Soma 60th), Ritsu Doan (Koji Miyoshi 75th), Ao Tanaka, Takefusa Kubo (Tyotaro Meshino 63rd) and Daizen Maeda (Ayase Ueda 46th).
Subs not used: Keisuke Osako, Taiyo Koga, Daiki Hashioka, Yukinari Sugawara,Yuta Nakayama, Keita Endo, Daichi Hayashi
Booked: Sakai (52nd)
Jamaica — Dillon Barnes (Jeadine White 71st), Curtis Tilt (Adrian Mariappa 34th), Liam Moore (Damion Lowe 62nd), Wes Harding (Kevaughn Isaacs 55th), Amari'i Bell, Devon Williams, Ravel Morrison, Kevon Lambert (Luca Levee 60th), Blair Turgott, Javon East (Andre Gray 62nd), and Kemal Malcolm (Oniel Fisher 51st).
Subs not used: Dennis Taylor
Booked: Malcolm (49th)
Referee: Yudai Yamamoto
Assistant Referees: Satoshi Karakami, Ryo Hirama
Fourth official: Hiroki Kasahara
Referee assessor: Toshiyuki Mayuzumi
Match commissioner: Tetsu Hirai
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