Japan, which had been considered as the favorite to win the title, ended its journey to become the top player in Asia for the fifth time as it lost to Iran, a powerhouse in the Middle East. Japan is urging the dismissal of Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu as the result came out completely different from expectations. Moriyasu hinted at his resignation, saying he would accept a strict evaluation.
“I have no regrets, but I reflect,” Moriyasu told reporters after returning home through Haneda Airport in Tokyo on the 4th (Korea time). “I respect the voices of fans who demand dismissal. In the end, the result is everything, so I will accept a strict evaluation of the lack of results.”꽁머니
Earlier, Japan lost 1-2 in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Qatar Asian Cup against Iran at the Education City Stadium in Alayyan, Qatar, on the 3rd. In addition, Japan, which was considered a “nominee to win”, packed up as it finished its journey earlier than expected.
Japan was considered as a candidate to win the title at this year’s event. Japan was the strongest in Asia, with a whopping 20 players from the final 26 players playing in European leagues. It also raised expectations by beating Germany, Turkiye and Canada in succession at last year’s A-match exhibition games.
However, after entering the tournament, Japan fell short of expectations. In fact, Japan struggled in the group league against Vietnam, and lost to Iraq to lose face value. Fortunately, Japan advanced to the tournament after winning against Indonesia, and successfully reversed the mood by defeating Bahrain in the round of 16.
Japan, as well as Junya Ito (Stad de Reims) left at the end of last month when he was criminally charged with sex crimes, but until early this month, he was tied for first place with Australia with 20.4% in the championship probability predicted by Opta, a soccer statistics and record company.
Japan, however, failed to overcome Iran, a powerhouse in the Middle East. Japan got off to a flying start on the day with Hideemasa Morita (Sporting) scoring the first goal in the 28th minute of the first half amid fierce battle between the two teams. However, the team gradually lost concentration and gave the equalizer to Mohammad Mohebi (Rostov) at 10th minute of the second half.
Moriyasu completely surrendered to Iran and took out a replacement card. At the 22nd minute of the second half, he replaced Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) and Daizen Maeda (Celtic) with Takumi Mitoma and Minamino (AS Monaco), making changes to the strikers.
However, Japan continued to be pushed back even after making changes, and eventually collapsed as it allowed a come-from-behind goal. Go Itakura (Borussia Mönchengladbach) gave up a penalty kick (PK) when he walked the leg of Hossein Kananizadegan (Persepoliga) in front of the goal gate at 4 minutes of extra time in the second half, and lost a point to Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord), who later played as a kicker.
Moriyasu said, “I think I lost because I didn’t use the replacement card well. I failed to cut off the flow through changes. I feel sorry for the loss.” “I am truly sorry that we all tried our best but we couldn’t bring the result,” he said, lowering his head. “I am very sorry and feel a sense of responsibility to the fans and officials.”
As Japan never expected to be eliminated from the quarterfinals, criticism and criticism of Moriyasu are pouring in in Japan. In particular, a number of fans are calling for the dismissal of Moriyasu as he is entirely responsible for the defeat against Iran, such as his inability to use the replacement card properly.
“I have no regrets, but as a coach, I feel sorry that I was eliminated early even though I aimed to win the championship because I think the result is everything. I regret it,” Moriyasu said. “I respect and understand the voices of the fans who demand dismissal. I will accept a strict evaluation of the failure to produce results,” he said with a nuance that he would take responsibility.