Three reasons why Japan can win gold

  • Their constant progress, defensive focus, and selective attack

  • We take a look at each aspect, as the final approaches

  • Kick-off on Wednesday at 18:00 (local time)

Japan have reached the final of the Women’s Youth Olympic Futsal Tournament Buenos Aires 2018, where they will face Portugal on Wednesday in the Main Futsal Hall. lays out three reasons why the Japanese are capable of claiming the gold medal.

Their constant progress

Japan have gone from strength to strength at Buenos Aires 2018. Their coach, Kenichiro Kogure, has continuously adjusted minor details throughout the tournament, finding tailored solutions to any problems that have arisen. The clearest example of this? Lessons from his charges’ defeat by Portugal in their final group-stage match, which helped him to pinpoint how to find a way past Spain’s defence in the semi-final. The astute tactician is likely to have similar tricks up his sleeve for the rematch against Portugal.

Their defensive focus

The Asians have exhibited discipline and great concentration in defence in all of their matches, but they excelled in this department versus Portugal and Spain, the two most effective attacks in the women’s tournament, allowing them just 11 and 9 shots on goal respectively – well below both teams’ average. The key? Pressing their opponents high up the court whenever feasible.

Their selective approach to attacking

Kogure has convinced his players that, in order to score, they do not necessarily have to have more of the ball, or more shots on goal, than their opponents. Against teams that move the ball around proficiently, they have demonstrated that the path to success lies with choosing the right moment to play a killer pass or to seize a shooting opportunity. Proving this theory, his protégées scored three goals from just nine attempts on target against Spain on Monday.