Episode 235 - Japan 2-3 Belgium

July 4, 2018

After Japan's crushing late loss to Belgium in the first knockout round in Russia, Cesare Polenghi and Scott McIntyre guested for a post mortem on the 3-2 defeat, and the Samurai Blue's campaign as a whole.

The players who impressed, Akira Nishino's blind spot re: Eiji Kawashima, and whether Nishino is the right man to take Japan forward are just a few of the topics covered before Scott, coming to us from a (very atmospheric) train platform in Russia, literally has to depart (at 39:00), before Cesare broadens our horizon with opinions on how the Japanese game and the national team can be taken forward, and we wrap up the game.

#On Wednesday, several Japanese media outlets reported that Jurgen Klinsmann has been lined up to replace Nishino - we were not aware of these reports during recording.#

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Scott - @mcintinhos

The Asian Game podcast

Cesare - @CesarePolenghi

Football Tribe

00:0000:00

Episode 234 - Japan 0-1 Poland

June 29, 2018

Job done, but only just! This episode was recorded right on the full time whistle of Japan's 1-0 loss to Poland in their final Group H game, with the Samurai Blue scraping through to the Round of 16 via the fair play standings, having accumulated fewer yellow cards than Senegal over the three games.

In Part 1, Scott McIntyre comes to us live from Volgograd Arena to give immediate reaction, and a thorough explanation of the raft of changes Akira Nishino made, with six of the starting XI who had begun the first two games rotated out due to the stifling conditions. Scott also praises Nishino for his stellar job in steering Japan out of such a challenging group, and again calls for a change in goal (to 11:20).

Then in Part 2 Stuart Smith and Sam Robson guest as we run through all of the major talking points from the game, including: Eiji Kawashima's stunning first half save; the poor goal that Japan conceeded; some concern at their lack of urgency after falling behind; and the strange way the last 7 or 8 minutes played out, with the game ceasing to be a contest at the death, with Poland content to sit on their lead and let the Japanese players pass the ball around amongst themselves - a strategy that obviously would have failed spectacularly had Senegal snatched a late equalizer against Colombia (to 46:30).

We finish the episode with a look at Japan's last 16 prospects, with Sam answering a question he submitted for the post-Senegal pod, and while we focused on the likelihood the Samurai Blue would face England, a potential match-up vs Belgium was also considered.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Scott - @mcintinhos

Stuart - @sushi_football

Sam - @FRSoccerSam

00:0000:00

Episode 233 - Japan 2-2 Senegal

June 26, 2018

Following Japan's 2-2 draw with Senegal that left their World Cup Group H fate in their own hands going into the final match, Sean Carroll and Stuart Smith joined me to discuss the game and look ahead to Poland (and, hopefully, beyond).

We begin with some bigger picture takes on the merits of the Senegal result and the impact the players at the centre of Akira Nishino's major selection decisions have had (to 17:00), before moving on to all of the major incidents from the first half of the clash with The Lions of Teranga, including the latest installment of The Eiji Kawashima Chronicles.

After a half time break to tackle several of the great range of twitter questions we received, we wrap up the second half and discuss Keisuke Honda's role in Nishino's set up, then move on to preview the clash with Poland (from 1:04:00), and the permutations in the group, with Senegal v Colombia kicking off at the same time on Thursday.

We finish with Japan's potential Round of 16 (touch wood) opponents England and Belgium - a loaded topic with both guests hailing from England.

#AUDIO ISSUE# Sean was heading home for the first 15 or so minutes of the episode, so you will notice a lot of traffic/background noise, we hope it doesn't detract too much from your listening experience.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Stuart - @sushi_football

Sean - @seankyaroru

00:0000:00

Episode 232 - Japan 2-1 Colombia

June 20, 2018

Alan Gibson and Cesare Polenghi guest on this week's podcast, recorded right after Japan's stirring 2-1 triumph over Colombia in their first Group H game at the 2018 World Cup.

We begin the episode with a discussion on where this win ranks amongst the Samurai Blue's (admittedly small) list of World Cup victories, and then chat about the key selection decisions Akira Nishino faced following the three friendlies leading in to the Colombia match.

We then work our way through the key moments of the match, beginning with the Carlos Sanchez red card naturally, Japan not doing enough to ram home their advantage in the first half (where the Eiji Kawashima conundrum gets another airing), and then all of the positives that came out of the second half: the chances that came before the second goal; Yuya Osako's winner and what it could do for him confidence-wise in the rest of the tournament; and the assured way Nishino's team saw out the last 20 minutes.

After wrapping up the Colombia game (to 40:10), we then shift our focus to the next match, against Senegal, and discuss whether Nishino might consider a return to three at the back against The Lions of Teranga, or roll on with an unchanged side.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Cesare - @CesarePolenghi

Football Tribe

Alan - @jsoccermagazine

JSoccer.com

00:0000:00

Episode 231 - Japan World Cup Preview

June 13, 2018

Following Japan's final two pre-World Cup friendlies against Switzerland and Paraguay, Shintaro Kano from Kyodo News guested on this week's podcast to review the two games and look ahead to the Samurai Blue's Russian adventure.

As we recorded immediately after Japan's 4-2 win over Paraguay, we begin with that game, and the questions it posed to Akira Nishino - with his supposed second stringers outperforming the lineups that suffered defeats against both Ghana and the Swiss. Did Shinji Kagawa and Takashi Inui do enough to make their case to start against Colombia on June 19, what is Shintaro's preferred central midfield pairing in that game, and what of the goalkeeping situation, with Eiji Kawashima failing to convince (to 29:10).

We then look back at the Switzerland game, with other selection decisions for Nishino also discussed (which Sakai at right back?) (to 42:30), before we finish with Shintaro's thoughts on the Halilhodzic to Nishino coaching change, and some players he was surprised to see not make the final squad of 23.

Follow Shintaro on twitter @shintarokano

00:0000:00

Episode 230 - Nishino’s 23 & J2 Special May 2018

June 5, 2018

Stuart Smith and Jon Steele return to the podcast for a discussion on Japan's squad for the World Cup, and the latest of our monthly J2 Specials.

In Part 1 we briefly review Japan's loss to Ghana and experimentation with three at the back in their final friendly on home soil before Akira Nishino named his squad for Russia, then run the rule over the 23 man group, focusing on the exclusions of Yosuke Ideguchi and Takuma Asano (to 30:50).

Then in our J2 Special we begin with the big risers in the table since our last installment, beginning with FC Gifu (with a tangent on 'triple punishment' for professional fouls in the box), and moving on to Kofu, Tokushima and Chiba (to 1:11:55). Then follows a chat on the four teams who have taken the biggest tumbles since Matchday 11: Tokyo Verdy, Kumamoto, Kanazawa and Mito (to 1:22:20), before we finish with the current top six, with a brief word on our All-time Japan XIs from The Guardian website right at the death - props to Ben Mabley.

Follow my guests on twitter and the web:

Stuart - @sushi_football

We Are Gifu

Jon - @J2KantoBites

From The Guardian - Choose your own All-time Japan XI

00:0000:00

Episode 229 - J1 & J2 Matchday 15, Japan Squad

May 23, 2018

Scott McIntyre and Stuart Smith guest as we go deep on J1 and J2, and also Akira Nishino's first Japan squad.

In Part 1 Scott and I begin with Kosuke Nakamura's shocking injury and the farcical end to Kashiwa's win at Nagoya (to 12:20), then move on to Hiroshima looking human against Cerezo Osaka (to 18:40) and Kobe's big day out at home against Sapporo (to 23:40). We then round up the rest of Sunday's results and throw Kashima some love for their ACL heroics (to 28:40), before finishing with Saturday's three games and an extended chat on Yokohama because, well, it wouldn't be an episode of J-Talk without one (to 42:20).

In Part 2 Stuart joins us to chat about Nishino's 27 (plus Yuya Kubo?) for the Ghana friendly, and we muse on who will make the final cut of 23, with talking points including: Nakamura's likely availability for Russia post-concussion; the quagmire in central midfield; surprising inclusions and notable snubs; and the general lack of difference makers in what all three of us agree is a stale and uninspiring squad (to 1:18:20).

Then in Part 3 Stuart is cock-a-hoop after FC Gifu's superb away win over Omiya on Saturday (to 1:35:00), and the top of the table clash between Oita and Yamaguchi leads our wrap of the notable results from the second tier weekend.

Follow my guests on twitter (and the web)

Scott - @mcintinhos

The Asian Game podcast

Stuart - @sushi_football

We Are Gifu

00:0000:00

Episode 228 - J1 Matchday 14

May 15, 2018

Dan Orlowitz guests on this week's podcast as we review J1 Matchday 14, while we're also joined by new Nagoya correspondent Adrian Serna to discuss the (sorry) state of Grampus.

Dan and I begin our top flight wrap with Sunday's draw between FC Tokyo and Sapporo (to 12:20), before moving on to the juggernaut that is Sanfrecce Hiroshima (to 18:15).

Then Adrian joins us for a wide-ranging discussion on the dire situation at Nagoya (to 43:10), before Dan and I give props to Nagasaki - Grampus's conquerors on Saturday. We then chat about the managerial change at Kashiwa and round up the rest of the weekend's games before finishing with the Matchday 15 fixture list

00:0000:00

Episode 227 - Golden Week J1 Wrap

May 8, 2018

Sam Robson from Football Radar guests to round up the busy Golden Week period of J1 fixtures, in which all top flight teams played four times in the space of 12 days.

We begin with 'Golden Week winners' - the teams who fared the best over the course of the four games (to 23:00) - before moving on to a few 'losers' - those teams who struggled during Golden Week, or wasted opportunities to build momentum after some early success (to 35:00).

We then take some questions from twitter, before moving on to runaway J1 leaders Hiroshima (from 56:00) - can they be caught?

A couple more bigger-picture twitter questions follow before we finish off by discussing early-season disappointments Urawa, Yokohama and Nagoya.

Follow Sam on twitter - @FRSoccerSam

00:0000:00

Episode 226 - J2 Special April 2018

May 1, 2018

Stuart Smith and Jon Steele return to the pod for this month's J2 Special.

We begin with struggling Kofu, who sacked manager Tatsuma Yoshida on Monday, and discuss their prospects under new boss Nobuhiro Ueno (to 14:35), then move on to happier topics - namely co-leaders Oita and Okayama (to 24:10).

Then Kofu's fellow relegated sides Niigata and Omiya come under the microscope (to 31:20), before a tangent on J2 'keepers (to 39:00) and other noteworthy teams/topics including Fukuoka, Kanazawa, Stuart's FC Gifu, Kyoto, Tochigi SC and Tokushima. We finish by picking out some games to watch during the two remaining Golden Week rounds of matches.

Follow my guests on twitter:

Jon - @J2KantoBites

Stuart - @sushi_football

Stuart's website - We Are Gifu

00:0000:00