Tue, Aug
Match Report
Japan Trinidad & Tobago
Japan T&T flag

2006-08-09National StadiumTokyo, Japan50000

Osim off to winning start as Japan beats T&T 2-0

Brazilian-born winger Alessandro Santos struck a superb first-half double as Japan made a winning start under new coach Ivica Osim with a 2-0 defeat of Trinidad and Tobago in a friendly in Tokyo on Wednesday.

Santos opened the scoring with a trademark free kick in front of nearly 48,000 at National Stadium and a clever lob completed a comfortable victory for the Asian champions in their first match since the World Cup finals.

"I didn't expect such a big crowd to come out for this game and that pleased me, as I realized just how much Japanese people love football," said Osim.

"It was an important match for me and the Japan Football Association, the players and the J-League and seeing the size of the crowd made me feel a deeper sense of responsibility and I did not want to disappoint them."

Japan were knocked out of the World Cup when their first-round exit was sealed with a 4-1 defeat by five-time world champions Brazil in Dortmund on June 22.

With many first-team regulars under former coach Zico unavailable because of club commitments, Osim picked just four members from the World Cup squad in his group of 19.

Along with Santos, goalkeeper and captain Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and defenders Yuichi Komano and Keisuke Tsuboi all started.

Kawasaki Frontale forward Kazuki Ganaha partnered Tatsuya Tanaka up front and was one of five uncapped players in the starting lineup.

Only a handful of players that were in the Trinidad squad in Germany made the trip to Japan and coach Wim Rijsbergen was without former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, who captained his team on their World Cup debut.

Japan made a lively start to the game despite the humid conditions and Tanaka screwed wide after four minutes.

Tanaka and Ganaha showed some nice touches and the latter earned the free kick from which Japan went in front.

The Okinawa-born striker was brought down by a clumsy tackle from Keyeno Thomas and Santos stepped up to rap home the opener after 17 minutes before doubling the lead five minutes later.

Making his 76th national team appearance, Santos grabbed his seventh Japan goal when he sprung the offside trap and clipped Komano's through ball over the advancing Jan Michael Williams.

Trinidad never really looked like making it out of first gear and captain Cyd Gray's long-range shot in the 28th minute was their only noteworthy effort.

Japan were given a scare when Tsuboi limped off with an injury near the hour mark and was replaced by Yokohama F Marinos defender Yuzo Kurihara.

Substitute Naoshi Nakamura almost made it 3-0 within moments of coming on for his debut but his shot was pushed away by Williams, who reacted quickly to deny Hisato Sato from the follow-up with just over 10 minutes remaining.

"Overall, the first game was played at a good tempo and there were some good combinations considering we have only been training together for three days. But there were some bad points too," said the 65-year-old Osim, who replaced outgoing Zico when he signed a one-year contract last month.

"Soccer is about 90 minutes but some players couldn't play 90 minutes today. That is something that can be solved but the methods need thinking about," said the former Yugoslavia coach.

Trinidad coach Rijsbergen said the match had provided a good experience for his players.

"For our players this was a good experience for them to see international football on a good level," said the Dutchman.

"We had a problem keeping pace with Japan at the start but we had a good second half and the guys will take that experience back to their local leagues, which are not at the same level as Japan," he added.

Japan play Yemen on Aug. 16 in Niigata in a qualifier for next year's Asian Cup.

 Jan-Michael Williams
17.David Charles
8.Cyd Gray (capt.)
3.Avery John
5.Subbed outKeyeno Thomas
 Subbed in 78' Ian Gray
11.Subbed outStephan David
 Subbed in 71' Kerry Baptiste
6.Clyde Leon
7.Trent Noel
12.Subbed outGary Glasgow
 Subbed in 90' Andrei Pacheco
16.Evans Wise
23.Subbed outAnthony Wolfe
 Subbed in 75' Kendall Jagdeosingh
 Ian Gray
 Andrei Pacheco
 Kerry Baptiste
 Kendall Jagdeosingh
21.Marvin Phillip
 Wilhelmus Rijsbergen
71'Subbed outSubbed inKerry Baptiste for Stephan David
75'Subbed outSubbed inKendall Jagdeosingh for Anthony Wolfe
78'Subbed outSubbed inIan Gray for Keyeno Thomas
90'Subbed outSubbed inAndrei Pacheco for Gary Glasgow