Many people have been talking about Japan in this year’s World Cup after their performance in 2002. I saw recaps of the Japan-Australia game and Japan’s goal against Australia probably shouldn’t have counted. The officials didn’t call it and don’t have instant replay like the NFL; instant replay would be impractical anyway in soccer because the clock would keep running while they were checking something. (Reportedly, one of the referees was overheard admitting to the Aussie keeper that it was a mistake.) I was a soccer referee for 3 years and I think that I would have made the same mistake; I would have to have seen the offending player’s momentum to make a definite call. Anyway, Australia scored three goals and beat them so hopefully people will move on to the other two matches.
Japan’s next game is against Croatia on Sunday (6/18) and it could be a close one, since Croatia held Brazil to just one goal earlier today. Croatia beat Japan 1-0 in 1998. Last is Brazil on Thursday (6/22). *sigh* I’ll say this, if Japan ties Brazil and also beats Croatia, they could make it the round of 16, but that 3rd goal allowed will hurt in a tiebreaker situation. If they beat Brazil, that would be one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
After hearing about the Captain Tsubasa campaign (featuring Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”) and seeing Australians stopping traffic (youtube link) in Sydney after their win, I wondered how Japan might have taken the loss. Well, here’s a Japanese news report with the only Australians in a bar celebrating while the rest (Japanese) is silent.
There’s also a video someone made featuring emotions felt during World Cups 1998 and 2002:
There’s also also a pump up video entitled “NO FEAR”, featuring (what else) “Don’t Stop Me Now”. Too bad I can’t read the flashing Japanese because I’m missing the motivating messages.
As for my own country, the United States, I’m not really expecting much after their 0-3 loss to the Czechs. They might be able to
scrape together get a win or draw from Ghana but probably not one from Italy. I’m not going to be as disappointed with their play this year as I was with the US placing 6th in the 2002 World Basketball Championships. Hopefully, the US will do better in this year’s Worlds later this summer [August 18 – September 3], which will hosted by…Japan. I wonder if there’ll be an Japanese ad campaign with Dear Boys/Hoop Days. Um, maybe not since last time they made the Worlds (1998) they came in 14th out of 16th, but who knows.
P.S. If you haven’t seen this, there is a vertical soccer billboard by Adidas in downtown Osaka.