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World Cup friendlies Japan-Malta, England-Jamaica June 5, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Football, World Cup.
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Japan 1 – Malta 0

Japan's psychological weaknesses are exposed again. Perhaps they got a bit too big headed after the draw with Germany. Sloppy passing, giving away possession needlessly, not being able to break down a team ranked about 100 positions below them in the FIFA rankings. Perhaps the early goal, in the 2nd minute, gave them a false sense of superiority.

Malta weren't granted many clear cut chances, but there were many more questions than answers resulting from yesterday's performance. Japan were trying to get forward, but could not penetrate the Maltese defence for 90 minues after the goal was scored. The analysis might have been different if they were practicing soaking up pressure and maintaining a lead, but Malta's team was not of the required calibre to evaluate such a strategy.

It may be a good thing that the hype surrounding the team will be diminished somewhat, heading into the tournament.  Australia, Japan's first opponents, seemed to have a good match against Holland. Japan should be worried about the physical nature of Australia's play, they lack depth in their squad and an injury to any key players will be disasterous with remaining matches against Croatia and Brazil.

England 6 – Jamaica 0

Will Peter Crouch be one of the surprise players of the tournament? He seems to have fit form at the right time (because he didn't deliver as much as he promised during the season at Liverpool?), although I have a niggling suspicion that he is strong against weak sides, and gets nervous on the big day. That might work well for England though, using Crouch during the group stage and await Rooney's return for the knock-out stages. Ronney has shown that he isn't overawed by matching up against world class players. England should qualify for the knock-out stages without Rooney, and then we'll have 3 strikers to choose from. That can only be good news.   

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