Moriyasu demands even more goals after Japan thrash Myanmar

AFP , Thursday 16 Nov 2023

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu demanded even more from his team after they thrashed Myanmar 5-0 on Thursday to get their bid to reach an eighth straight World Cup off to an emphatic start.

Japan s Yuya Osako, center, scores a goal on penalty kick against Myanmar during their Asian qualification soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Fukuda Denshi Arena in Chiba, east of Tokyo, Friday, May 28, 2021. AFP


Feyenoord striker Ayase Ueda scored a hat-trick as the hosts shrugged off the absence of injured Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma in Osaka.

Daichi Kamada and Ritsu Doan also got on the scoresheet as Japan took their goal tally to 29 in their last seven games -- all of which they have won.

But Moriyasu was far from satisfied as he tries to plot a route to the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico, starting with their next qualifier against Syria in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

"We had chances to score more goals," said the coach.

"We have to be able to create more opportunities and reduce the amount of times we find ourselves in difficulty."

Japan hammered Myanmar 10-0 the last time they met, in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

The visitors managed to escape with a closer scoreline this time round but they had no answer to Ueda's clinical finishing.

First the tall target man headed home a floated Takumi Minamino pass to open the scoring in the 11th minute, before he converted with a deft first-time finish from a tight angle on the stroke of half time.

Ueda completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half, turning home another razor-sharp pass from former Liverpool forward Minamino, now with Monaco.

"It was the first game so we wanted to get the win," said Ueda, who has scored only once for Feyenoord this season.

"I think I was able to show my strong points tonight."

Moriyasu made a flurry of changes once the result was safe, even replacing goalkeeper Keisuke Osako with 10 minutes remaining.

The coach said he wanted to see his team "play tough" against Syria in their next outing.

"The first game of any competition is difficult but the players prepared well," he said.

"Every game depends on the opponent but the players wanted to challenge themselves and that attitude is good to see."

Japan stunned Germany and Spain on the way to the last 16 at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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