author-Ashok Kumar Sharma
Japan is playing the World Cup football tournament for the seventh time. This is the second highest representation of any Asian country after South Korea. Japan’s FIFA world ranking is 24. In Asia, it is second only to Iran (20). It is the first country in Asia to win a medal in football in the Olympics. In the 1968 Olympics, Japan won the bronze medal by defeating Mexico 2–0. This success of Japan was miraculous. After 44 years, two Asian countries reached the semi-finals in the London Olympics – Japan and South Korea. In the bronze medal match, South Korea defeated Japan 2–0. In this way, Korea became the second country in Asia to win an Olympic football medal. Japan is in Group E in the 2022 World Cup football. The other teams in this group are Germany, Spain and Costa Rica. Japan’s first match is against Germany on 23 November.
The progress of football in Japan is phenomenal. How to develop the game of football in a short time can be learned from Japan. Japan was going through a period of reconstruction after World War II. Japan, which had to bear the brunt of two atom bombs, was completely ruined. Football was also no exception to this. Japan had to make a new beginning in every sphere of life. New resources had to be created. It took a step towards innovation on the strength of strong will power and hard work of its citizens. When a new structure of development was established, football also progressed along with the progress of the country. Six years after the Mahavinash (1951), the first Asian Games were held in New Delhi. Japan proved its vitality by winning the bronze medal in the football competition of this Asian Games. Then it soon became a football powerhouse in Asia.
Mention of India on the pretext of Japan
If there is talk of hard work in football, then India can also be mentioned on the pretext of Japan. India won the gold medal in football in the 1951 Asian Games. India won the gold medal by defeating Iran 1-0 in the final. Japan then won the bronze medal by defeating Afghanistan 2–0. At that time the status of Indian football in Asia was very high. India was even better than Iran and Japan. Then Asia’s oldest football competition (Durand Cup) was played in India. But see the irony that Japan and Iran progressed in football and India lost its identity. The condition of India is like that of a king who has become a pauper because of his mismanagement. India, which won the first gold medal in football in the Asian Games, does not exist today, while Japan, which won the bronze medal, is playing the World Cup for the seventh time.
Japan defeated Russia in the 2002 World Cup
Japan qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 1998. For the first time, it surprised the world’s legendary team Argentina. Argentina barely managed to beat Japan 1–0. Croatia also had to struggle a lot to defeat Japan. That too won by only one goal. Japan was the host of the 2002 World Cup. It created a stir in the very first match by holding Belgium to 2-2 (Belgium is now the number two team in the world). After this, Japan made a big bang by defeating Russia 1-0. In the third match, Japan beat Tunisia 2–0 to collect seven points and top their group. Japan reached the last 16. In this round, he was faced with Turkey in which he lost 0-1. In this way, the journey of Japan ended here.
Japan 3 times in last 16
After 2002, Japan also reached the last 16 in the 2010 and 2018 World Cups. In the 2010 World Cup football, Japan caused a major upset by defeating Denmark 3–1. (Denmark’s World Ranking 10 now) Earlier he had defeated Cameroon 1-0. They lost by one goal to the Netherlands. Japan then made it to the last 16 but lost to Paraguay 3–5 in a penalty shootout. In 2018, Japan achieved a big win by defeating Colombia 2-1. Played a draw with Senegal. It lost 0–1 to Poland. After making it to the last 16, Japan were drawn against Belgium. In this match he was defeated 2-3.
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