Saturday, August 10, 2013


The Japanese U-23 soccer team is a strong base for players in the Japanese senior team as well as the domestic league known as J-League. The team has been playing in the Olympic Games since 1936. In the Olympic Games which were hosted in Germany, the Japanese U-23 reached the quarter finals. This is a remarkable history for the team as it is not always easy to reach the quarter finals in such a big tournament as the Olympics.
Japan vs Spain in 2012 summer Olympics
In 1936 the Japanese U-23 squad allowed 10 goals and it scored only 3 goals. This shows that the forward line did not score many goals to advance further in that competition. 3 goals only are not enough if you expect to reach the finals for example.

In 1956, the Olympic Games were hosted by Australia. The Japanese team did not do well as compared to 1936 record. It was defeated in the 1st round and that was the end of its expectations. In that tournament the Japanese team did not score any goal and it allowed a total of 2 goals.

In the summer Olympics of 1968, the Japanese squad did very well in its history. It won the bronze medal just after Poland which won the silver medal and Hungary which won the gold medal. Japan started its campaign in group A with Spain, Brazil and Nigeria. Japan played its first match in October 14th against Nigeria. They defeated Nigeria by 3-1, in an event which the Japanese player Kunishige Kamamoto scored the hat trick.

Their second match was against Brazil whereby Watanabe of the Japanese squad scored the only goal in the late minutes to equalize the match. The match with Brazil ended at a 1-1 draw. Their 3rd tie was against Spain and it was a goalless draw. Japan qualified for the next stage after becoming 2nd in group just below Spain. It had a total of 4 points just one point below Spain who had 5 points.

Japan faced France in the quarter finals and they defeated France by 3-1. This gave them a ticket to play in the semi finals.

One of The semi-final matches was between Hungary and Japan. Japan suffered a defeat of 0-5 from Hungary.

In October 24th 1968 Japan played against Mexico. The hosts were severely beaten by the Toyota makers. Japan won the match by 2-0. This was the bright shine for the Japanese team. It is my hope that one day Japan will reach the world cup final before it can take it.