Friday, August 10, 2007

The pressure is back on Gamba as the J-League resumes

The pressure is back on Gamba as the J-League resumes.
The J-League resumes on August 11 after a long mid-season recess and all eyes will be on Nissan Stadium for the clash between Yokohama F. Marinos and Yokohama FC.
The J-League attendance record could be broken for this fixture, with around 55,000 tickets having already been snapped up by eager fans.

Yokohama FC shocked their more illustrious rivals to record a 1-0 victory at Mitsuzawa Stadium earlier in the season, so Yokohama F. Marinos will be eager to avenge that humiliating defeat.
Elsewhere in the J-League, current table-toppers Gamba Osaka face an intriguing clash with third placed Albirex Niigata. Niigata have rocketed into the top three mainly on the basis of their home form, but they will nevertheless fancy their chances in what should be a packed Expo '70 Stadium in Osaka.

Omiya Ardija are a "club in crisis" according to their Chairman Seigo Watanabe, after he sacked coach Robert Verbeek just four days before the resumption of league football. Verbeek's dismissal was widely predicted, but the appointment of the highly unpopular Satoru Sakuma in his place has displeased many Omiya fans, ahead of their crucial clash with Shimizu S-Pulse at Nihondaira Stadium.
In the weekend's other main fixtures, Urawa - who are now just two points behind Gamba Osaka after they thumped Sanfrecce Hiroshima 4-1 in a rescheduled Round 14 fixture earlier in the month, take on Kashiwa Reysol at Saitama Stadium.

Struggling JEF United face a tough looking home fixture against Kawasaki Frontale, while a resurgent Kashima Antlers travel to Kose Sports Park Stadium, where they beat hosts Ventforet Kofu 3-0 in the League Cup earlier in the season.

In J2 current table-toppers Consadole Sapporo take on fallen giants Cerezo Osaka at the Sapporo Dome, whilst the in-form Avispa Fukuoka will hope to pull away from Vegalta Sendai with a win over Ehime FC at Hakatanomori Stadium in Fukuoka. Sendai are on the road at Tokushima Vortis.

Japanese National Teams

Japan

The head of the Japan Football Association, Saburo Kawabuchi, has called for an investigation into Japan's poor showing at the recent Asian Cup.

Kawabuchi stopped short of blaming Bosnian coach Ivica Osim for Japan's semi-final exit to Saudi Arabia, but criticised the coach for leaving the bench during Japan's drama-charged penalty shoot-out victory over Australia in the quarter-finals.

Kawabuchi also criticised Osim's training regime, and hoped that the fiery Bosnian might make changes to his team routine ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Japan Women's Team

Nadeshiko Japan qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics by thrashing Vietnam 8-0 in their penultimate Olympic qualifier.
Hiroshi Ohashi's team had far too much quality for their mis-matched counterparts, with seven different goal-scorers getting on the scoresheet in Haiphong.

Japan Olympic Team

The Japanese Olympic Team ended the recent four-team friendly tournament held in China with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Botswana.
Japan defeated DRP Korea 2-1 in their opening fixture, but a controversial 0-0 draw with hosts China - in which Japan were penalised thirty-seven times for alleged four play, meant that Japan's under-22 team had little to play for in their final match.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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