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Miyamoto points the way forward

27 Jun 2005(Mon)

TOKYO (June 25): With the World Cup in Germany less than a year away, what needs to be done in the coming months to further strengthen the team?

One of the most important things, as "Captain Tsune" said in Bangkok after victory over North Korea, is for Japan to play more teams from Europe and South America.

The Confederations Cup gave Japan the opportunity to play against teams from three of FIFA's six confederations: CONCACAF (Mexico), Europe (Greece) and South America (Brazil).

After a disappointing start against Mexico, Japan adapted well to playing the big and physical Greeks, and then picked up the pace to give Brazil a real fright.

So Japan showed that they are adaptable to both styles, and Zico must now find some common ground down the middle.

Meaning, having players who are defensively strong and physical, and others who are quick and creative in attack.

As the coach said himself in Germany, it's now a matter of balance and organisation, and finding the right combinations.

Japan's qualities, of course, are speed, movement and technical skill, but these alone are not enough to succeed at the highest level.

They need to have physical strength to win the one-on-one battles around the pitch, and the aerial power in both penalty areas to combat their opponents.

FIFA's technical study group representative, Andy Roxburgh, also said on the FIFA website that Japan must learn to change their tempo when the situation demands, and not keep playing at such a fast pace.

So, all in all, there is plenty to work on over the next few months.

Playing against South American and European teams, away from home, will help Japan develop their own special style, and enable Zico to sort out Japan's men from Japan's boys!

ends

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