Celtic’s Japanese Bhoys May Not Be In Asia As Long As We All Thought.

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Yesterday, the Japanese national team lost to Iraq in the Asian Cup.

That’s a seismic shock for those who watched them during the World Cup and thought they would be certainties to go all the way in the tournament this year. Their manager is not an impressive guy, and the more I listen to him the more obvious it is that he’s been holding on by his fingernails for a long time.

That man was on the brink of the sack before the World Cup.

His selection policy baffled people in Japan. There is a widespread belief that their performance in that tournament – in no small part due to Daizen Maeda – saved his job, which it almost certainly did.

I have never understood his disdain for Kyogo, for example. It’s not like he only started scoring once he was playing in Scotland. He was very obviously a superb footballer from way before that, and you can see it in his stats and in his highlights videos and Ange was not in the least bit hesitant in giving him the most important role in our team.

Not only is he clearly a big game player, those big games now include goals in the Champions League, the highest level of club football there is. Whatever that guy’s problem with Kyogo is, he’s put himself on the spot here. He’s given a massive hostage to fortune.

Losing to Iraq is not a result which suggests that his team is going all the way to the final. Indeed, although I hope for good things for Maeda and Hatate I would welcome them being home a lot sooner than we had originally surmised. So, I will shed no tears if it’s as bad as it looks. There’s a bad day coming for that manager and it might be coming soon.

I would love to think Hatate and Maeda will be back here soon, and whilst I’m not going to underestimate the Japanese side, because it does have real quality in it, I think the manager is a bad joke and one that has gone on too long. That result is a disaster for him and every one of the doubts that had already been gnawing away at people will be raging like an inferno now.

Which is all to our benefit.

The match against Indonesia on Wednesday is do or die for this guy, and even if they win, Iraq only need a point to top the group and Japan finishing in second guarantees them a tougher draw and a harder path to where most of us thought they would go.

We should be watching that one with great interest.

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  • Captain Swing says:

    Whatever the criteria for his selection policy is, it reminds me a bit of the old joke about the stuffy England test cricket selection board leaving their most gifted batsman out of the side on the basis that he had performed poorly at interview…..

  • Johnno says:

    Always thought that you might have been over reacting about the Asian Cup James, and the impact it could have upon ourselves imo?
    The reason why?
    Is because as you pointed out that Japanese manager.
    A poor manager with poor decision making only lasts so long within todays game.
    Confirmed that by the kyogo decision yet again, and choosing Maeda in the same position only screams of arrogance towards Ange and now Rodgers, that he knows better?
    Like you James, I would be happy enough to see both Japan and Korea exit the tournament early for our benefit, selfish I now, but just the way it is with these nuisance tournaments mid season?
    You hope our player’s enjoy the experience that these tournaments can bring, in order to keep there mindsets in a good place, not so confident that will be the case for Japan with the impact a poor manager can have upon a team imo

  • Horsis says:

    Wishful thinking. All good teams lose group games and bounce back. A tougher draw for them is also a tougher draw for who they meet. It will be a wake up call, better to be complacent in group games than in a winner take all knockout game.

  • sligo123456 says:

    I agree. I would love to see our japanese players go the whole way but if not, c’est la vie. Home in 1 piece would be a tonic to our team.

  • Dando says:

    When he stated that Kyogo had a “team work ethic problem” he clearly hasn’t watched the wee man in years……


  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Personally I hate International football these days and I’m sick that Scotland are gonna be at Euro 2024…

    Not to spite very fine fans of Clachnacuddin, Ross County, Montrose, Stirling Albion, Dumbarton and even fellow Celtic fans that do love and follow Scotland as well –

    No it’s all to do with ma very natural (and rightly these days for sure) HATRED of The SFA and SPFL –

    So even though The Japanese Governing Football Authorities have done nothing untoward to Celtic or any other nation’s football rulers either, I still hate bloody International football…

    It has cost us dear enough in terms of injured players this season for sure !

  • Y. Ning says:

    S.Korea drew against Jordan, and there’s a chance it might be S.Korea vs Japan in the last 16 I think

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