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German Flick feels confident despite Japan crush – SABC News

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Germany coach Hansi Flick praised the quality of Japanese football ahead of their World Cup Group E match, but is confident of his team’s preparations for the tournament.

Germany lost their first group match of the 2018 World Cup and were eliminated in the first round, their earliest exit in 80 years.

“I have to express myself as a fan of Japanese football. They’re really doing it well,” Flick said at a news conference Tuesday.

“We see their quality in the Bundesliga with (Daichi) Kamado from Eintracht Frankfurt, who is having a great season, or (Watara) Endo, who is one of the best midfielders in the Bundesliga.

“It is a very big task, but we go to the match prepared and waiting for it,” he said.

The Japanese team has eight German players, seven of whom play in the top division of the Bundesliga.

Japan’s improvement on the international stage is highlighted by the fact that the Asian nation did not play in a World Cup finals until 1998, but have since qualified for all six tournaments, reaching the last 16 three times.

“We had a really good practice the last few days, which set us up for the first game,” Flick said.

“All great footballing nations aim to become world champions. That’s why you’re here. If you have pressure, it’s because you’ve earned it. We will and must reach our limits.”

Germany, the four-time world champions who also face Spain and Costa Rica in their group, are desperate to put the failure of 2018 behind them.

One player who is eager to do so is Joshua Kimmich, who was part of the 2018 team.

“Our motivation is huge. We know that 2018 was nothing and we had to wait four and a half years and that tomorrow it will be important to start with a good game,” said the versatile midfielder.

“This is extremely important. At Euro (2021) we lost the first match, at the 2018 World Cup we lost the first match, so I am focused on today’s match and I am convinced that we will win.”

Japan are determined to beat Germany in their first leg in Qatar

Japan coach Hajime Mariasu acknowledged his country’s historic footballing debt to Germany but said his side will be just as determined to see off the four-time world champions at the World Cup on Wednesday.

German Detmar Kramer is known as the father of modern Japanese football after his work in the country in the 1960s, and since then players such as Lukas Podolski and Pierre Litbasrky have played in Japan.

“We are very grateful to the Germans, they are a role model for us,” Mariasu said at a press conference on Tuesday. We’re still developing, of course, and at the same time we’ve incorporated good qualities from Japan into our style of play.”

“So we have mixed feelings about playing Germany, but regardless of who our opponents are, we’re going to do our absolute best.”

The exchange of players between Japan and Germany has changed in recent years, with captain Maya Yoshida one of seven members of the Samurai Blue squad playing club football in the Bundesliga.

“Bundesliga players exchanged information with the rest of the team,” said the Schalke 04 defender.

“The most important thing is to defend well. We may not have many opportunities to attack, but we should have chances on the counter-attack.

“We believe we have a chance.”

Group E also includes former champions Spain, along with Costa Rica, who present Japan with their toughest ever first-round tie in their seventh straight trip to the World Cup finals.

Moriasu said that did not change their ambition to progress beyond the round of 16 for the first time at the World Cup.

“We are focused on winning, but it is important that we play as well as we can, otherwise it will be difficult for us,” he said. We want to go to the round of 16 and maybe even further and that will go down in history. This is our goal.”

Asian nations have had a poor start to the World Cup, with Qatar thrashed 2-0 by Ecuador in Sunday’s opener and Iran thrashing England 6-2 on Monday.

“We watched the games, it was a tough start for the Asian countries,” Yoshida said. “Of course we represent Japan, but we also represent Asia, so we hope Asian fans will come to the stadium. We need support because Germany is so good.”

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