2018 World Cup loss to Belgium still haunts Japanese squad

Japan is preparing for its first knock-out game at the 2022 World Cup against Croatia. During a press conference on Sunday, winger Yuto Nagatomo was reminded of the 1/16 final four years ago at the World Cup in Russia. During that game, the Japanese gave away a 2-0 lead against the Belgian Red Devils and lost 3-2. "I never forgot that," Nagatomo said.

"It remains very difficult," he explained. "You don't forget a match like that. I can remember the phases of that game very well. The past four years have been tough." The 36-year-old Nagatomo returned to FC Tokyo at home last year after a career in Europe with Cesena, Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Marseille.

Current national coach Hajime Moriyasu was an assistant at the time. "For me, we should have won that match," he said on Sunday. "We deserved to reach the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, the team has only got stronger. We already won against Germany and Spain in this tournament."

"Against Croatia, it will definitely be difficult. It is a country with a lot of good footballers. You don't become a vice-world champion just like that. They are also a smart team, very flexible and with a lot of experience in knockout matches. The fact that we have already been able to win against top countries like Germany and Spain gives us a lot of confidence. We want to get to the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the first time in our country's history," the coach added.




Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels