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Will Japan Become World Class in 7 - 10 years?


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After following the AFC U16, as well as seeing the amount of good young players that have been developing and succeeding, it makes me think - will Japan be the first Asian team to become proper world class?

That's not trying to disrespect any Asian teams before this. There have been some very good ones. However, none in my lifetime have been in the world class category at least not in my memory.

If we look at some of the players coming through...

Ritsu Doan - I have seen him in the U20 World Cup, and he was just recently nominated for the Golden Boy award. Signed for Groningen this season after impressing in Japan and personally I thought he was quite good in that U20 World Cup.

Takefosu Kubo - Jury still out on this one, but when he played in the U20 World Cup last year, he was only 15 years old and he still generated a lot of danger for the opposition. It's a matter of how far he can go. Currently nicknamed "the Japanese Messi".

Takumi Minamino - Not sure how he has been recently for Red Bull, but prior to last year he was excellent when he joined the Austrian club and with that link up to Red Bull Leipzig, if he does make the jump he could prove his level and grow further

Shoji Toyama - Complete winger currently at 16 years old playing for Gamba Osaka. He has goalscoring traits and is good at dribbling. He has a big future and while U17 level isn't always determining of the amount of players who does make it, with the right agent and motivation I have no doubt he will. 

 

Not to mention the growing domestic league and how they don't rely on cheap Brazilians to have strong teams.

 

What do you think?

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Nope.

Similarly to how someone on the old forum said USA would win the World Cup within the next 15-20 years.

7-10 years is quite a short time-frame to become world class just cos you've seen a bit of promise in a youth tournament.

Is the domestic league growing? Genuinely don't know, so just curious as to what makes you think it is growing and in what respect would they be classed as 'world class' if they make it? Making a World Cup final? 

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4 minutes ago, Stan said:

Nope.

Similarly to how someone on the old forum said USA would win the World Cup within the next 15-20 years.

7-10 years is quite a short time-frame to become world class just cos you've seen a bit of promise in a youth tournament.

Is the domestic league growing? Genuinely don't know, so just curious as to what makes you think it is growing and in what respect would they be classed as 'world class' if they make it? Making a World Cup final? 

To be fair, they also showed promise at this past world cup. However, I'm convinced that was more down to intelligence rather than quality.

The problem with Japan (and South Korea for that matter) is their innonence and naivety. Maybe a better way to word the title was "will Japan undergo a golden generation" which could very well make them world class. Just like Chile, who had 3 world class players but everyone always performed. That could be during the next 10 years. I don't think they'll win the world cup.

The domestic league I don't watch, but I do follow the ACL and achievements like Kashima beating Atletico Nacional 3-0 and nearly beating Real Madrid in the Club World Cup screams improvement to me. I've been following Asian football for a while and these achievements are a step up.

As for the USA thing, that will always be a myth because of just how far off football is to the other sports, as well as their development techniques.

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32 minutes ago, SirBalon said:

World Class???

What does that even mean with a team?

If that means joining the elite forces of the usual suspects then I’d say that’s extremely far fetched. 

Cannabis described my point perfectly.

Perhaps i should have worded the title better xD

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In my mind, World Class for an international team means both being a serious contender for a World Cup... while also looking like a great team. Those sides that grind out 1-0s to a final can be good sides, for sure, but I don't think that very good Italy side that won it last for Italy (obviously) was a world class side.

Given that that's a very high bar for any international side to meet... no I don't think, Japan will go from looking like a decent side to world class in 7-10 years. There's a pretty high barrier to break for even very good international sides with weak domestic leagues. Literally none of the players on the field for Croatia in the World Cup final were playing in Croatia's league - they may have started there, but they've got a squad of very very good players in top leagues (and that ponytailed fuck in Turkey). A lot of those players are at big clubs that play big matches regularly, so they're used to top level football - Croatia had multiple players who were in the champions league final before the World Cup. Both Croatia and France have multiple top players at massive clubs that are competing at the highest end of football - their squads are full of them.

Same with Belgium. They don't have the best domestic league (it's better than Croatia's though) - but their squad has shitloads of top players around the pitch that are playing at a high level at big clubs in big leagues in Europe. They're rightly feared because they've got so much quality, quality that's been tested and proven at a very high level, and that makes them an incredibly formidable international side.

Japan, in contrast, have good players. But how much of their squad is playing at the highest level in football and performing at that world class level? How many of them are routinely being tested against the world's best footballing sides (because club football is inherently a higher standard than international football)? There is a lot that needs to be done before Japan can be tipped for greatness at a World Cup.

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10 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Japan, in contrast, have good players. But how much of their squad is playing at the highest level in football and performing at that world class level? How many of them are routinely being tested against the world's best footballing sides (because club football is inherently a higher standard than international football)? There is a lot that needs to be done before Japan can be tipped for greatness at a World Cup.

This is my point. I know the following is premature, but when I see the likes of Ritsu Doan on the golden boy award, as well as all this quality coming out I can see a golden generation coming soon. 

I think they could be like Chile. Capable of winning the world cup but will never actually do it.

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Also @Dr. Gonzo I think you're underestimating how hard it is for Japanese players to get to a top European league. The reason they don't go is not always down to sheer quality. And from what I've seen, the Japanese league is good enough to provide recognizable talent, but not at the extent of Boca Juniors or Flamengo for example.

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Just now, Blue said:

This is my point. I know the following is premature, but when I see the likes of Ritsu Doan on the golden boy award, as well as all this quality coming out I can see a golden generation coming soon. 

I think they could be like Chile. Capable of winning the world cup but will never actually do it.

I don't think Chile have ever been capable of winning a world cup - they've got some very good players, but generally speaking the sides that compete for the World Cup and can actually win are full of quality. The sides with a handful of good players usually make it to the quarter finals or so before they fade out. A quick wiki of when Chile were actually World Cup contenders... and it's 1962, well before my time.

I do think Chile (and Japan in the last world cup) are decent sides that are fun to watch. But I don't think they've got the overall quality to be considered legitimate contenders. Just as I don't think Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, and Gary Medel (all better players than what Japan has to offer imo) really made Chile capable of winning the world cup ever in our lifetimes.

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Just now, Dr. Gonzo said:

I don't think Chile have ever been capable of winning a world cup - they've got some very good players, but generally speaking the sides that compete for the World Cup and can actually win are full of quality. The sides with a handful of good players usually make it to the quarter finals or so before they fade out. A quick wiki of when Chile were actually World Cup contenders... and it's 1962, well before my time.

I do think Chile (and Japan in the last world cup) are decent sides that are fun to watch. But I don't think they've got the overall quality to be considered legitimate contenders. Just as I don't think Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, and Gary Medel (all better players than what Japan has to offer imo) really made Chile capable of winning the world cup ever in our lifetimes.

Winning 2 Copa America's in a row in my opinion is of a team capable of winning the world cup.

Croatia playing dreadful football were able to make the final. It's a cup competition, if it were a league I would agree. It's not though.

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2 minutes ago, Blue said:

Also @Dr. Gonzo I think you're underestimating how hard it is for Japanese players to get to a top European league. The reason they don't go is not always down to sheer quality. And from what I've seen, the Japanese league is good enough to provide recognizable talent, but not at the extent of Boca Juniors or Flamengo for example.

I don't disagree that it's hard for Japanese players (or any Asian players really) to make it to a top European League. I also think that Asian football places a pretty heavy influence on technique, but the players are incomparable in terms of athletic ability... which in top level football is just as important (arguably moreso) than just being technically adept. And in the World Cup they're going to come up against sides that have players that play in leagues where they're expected to be top athletes as well as good with a football.

But if you want to be a world class international side, you need to be able to compete with the best footballers in the world. These are players that play in top leagues and aren't phased by big games.

I say this as someone that likes watching Japan play generally. I think they are a fun side, lots of technical ability and pace about them... but being realistic, they're not going to contend for a World Cup without either serious improvement and investment in their domestic league (which I think would take more than 7-10 years to see the results pay off for them) and/or a lot of the players in their international squad to be playing high level football in the biggest leagues in football & getting exposure in the Champions League.

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3 minutes ago, Blue said:

Winning 2 Copa America's in a row in my opinion is of a team capable of winning the world cup.

Croatia playing dreadful football were able to make the final. It's a cup competition, if it were a league I would agree. It's not though.

Who were the last Copa America winners to win a World Cup?

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10 minutes ago, Dr. Gonzo said:

Who were the last Copa America winners to win a World Cup?

I don't know but those facts don't really matter. South America are still an elite continent despite not winning a world cup in time.

Like I said, Croatia with a terrible defence and virtually no gameplan ended up reaching the final.

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I think Japan will always do well in Asia and I hope they continue to do so but the chances of them winning a World Cup or reaching elite status in world football are quite far considering the kind of competition you actually face when you reach the tournament coupled with the element of luck that a tournament brings with it. Their run this time shouldn't be overlooked of course but the bigger question then has to be asked about how consistent they are in the following World Cups. Most of their experienced squad will be gone by then and who knows what they'll be like come the WC. I don't think they will get to the level they need to be in order to be in contention at the next WC. We're also talking about a generation of Japanese players who should have done very well at the previous WC to this year's because that team was so much better than this one but they didnt and that comes back full circle to consistency. 

I personally think they've made bigger strides in women's football compared to their men's NT and the work there is far superior to anything their men's side has pumped out over the last three world cups.

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Just now, Blue said:

I don't know but those facts don't really matter. South America are still an elite continent despite not winning a world cup in time.

Like I said, Croatia with a terrible defence and virtually no gameplan ended up reaching the final.

Croatia had one of the better defenses in the tournament and had the best midfield (which is where football matches are won and lost) in all of their matches up until they played France. They were easily one of the strongest sides in the tournament.

Those facts do matter. You can't say that winning the Copa America means you're likely to win a World Cup if there's not really any evidence backing that claim. Especially when the side that last won the Copa America didn't qualify for the World Cup. And look at how Argentina, who had a manager that won a Copa America final with Chile (against Argentina) did in the World Cup... nowhere near good enough to be considered legitimate contenders.

South America clearly produces lots of good footballers, some of the best in the world - including the man that I (and a lot of people) think is the world's best player (even though he had a shite world cup with Argentina). But again, to be considered a world class international side in my mind you've got to have 1.) a shitload of quality players (which I think Brazil and Argentina both have/had - even though Mascherano and that striker that kept playing for Argentina had no business being in Russia), 2.) the ability to play better than pretty much every other side you face in the tournament - unless you're up against another really world class side.

Personally, I don't think either Croatia or France were really memorable world class squads. France won a lot of matches early on simply by outclassing their opponents with their individual quality rather than playing as a cohesive side. Croatia were hard working and had the best midfield (except for maybe France) in the tournament. So again, it would take some massive accomplishments in Japanese football for me to ever consider Japan's international side "world class."

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No one will convince me that Croatia was good in the World Cup. Easily the worst finalists since Germany 2002.

They were shown up in the final and later on against Spain for the frauds they are. Again, not to erase their cup run which was unforgettable for them, but they were not good at all. Didn't win a single game in regulation in the knockouts.

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20 minutes ago, Stan said:

Croatia 'not good at all' xD. Okay. Not sure i buy that just cos they didn't win a game in 90 minutes. At the end of the day, in a very basic way, up to the final they beat what's in front of them be it ET or penalties. They did what they had to and at times, did play good football and overcome opponents. Also, why do you only factor in knockouts? What about getting maximum points in the group stage, only one of 3 teams to do so?

They just didn't convince me at all. They had no gameplan and grinded out a large majority of their results. The whole not winning in knockouts factor I'm only using to back up my argument, because really it doesn't mean a whole lot but in this case, there is a pretty good reason they couldn't win in regulation.

In terms of them doing what they had to do, it's true and they had an unforgettable cup run that won't and shouldn't be erased. However that doesn't automatically mean they were good finalists. 

That wasn't the whole point though. My point was that Chile were capable of winning the World Cup at their prime, because if that Croatia team were able to reach the final, Chile could have done it too. In 2015 they were absolutely breathtaking and it's not like they didn't play in top leagues either. Gonzalo Jara and Mauricio Isla were amongst the least recognized on the team and still plied their trade in Serie A and the Bundesliga respectively. Then there was Valdivia who is an example that you don't have to play in Europe to be a top talent. Of course these are all views but I'm just not buying that Chile were not capable of winning the World Cup in their prime.

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I'd argue Chile's prime was in 1962 and they did alright when they came in 3rd. But the idea that because you've won the Copa America, you're for sure a World Cup contender... thus Chile could have won the World Cup recently just doesn't fly. They're the current Copa America holders, they won it back to back, and they didn't even qualify for the World Cup. So no, I don't think more modern eras of Chile have surpassed their 1962 side.

Chile may have played more exciting football than Croatia did in the past world cup in their more recent prime. But it's a team sport, isn't it? We saw Croatia take all points possible in their group stage, which I don't think a lot of people had expected, their midfield duo of Modric and Rakitic was exceptional throughout the competition, and they defended very well. They grinded out results, sure, but they were also pretty much the best side they faced up until they came across a France side that was too talented for them.

One thing we can say for certain is that in modern history, Croatia were much more likely to win the world cup than Chile were. We can say this definitively because Croatia made it to a world cup final, Chile didn't. Chile didn't even make it to the last World Cup, lest we forget. Being in a World Cup final gives you an infinitely greater chance of winning the World Cup than not winning the World Cup. It's not even arguable.

I don't think either world cup finalist was world class this year, two very good sides, but to be world class you've got to be a truly unforgettable side. But the idea that a World Cup finalist wasn't any good, despite being the better side than basically everyone they were up against other than their last match, is silly.

But, again, if you're expecting Japan to be World Class because they've got a few good players… I think you're going to find yourself disappointed. Because it will take a lot for Japanese football to put together a side as good as that Croatia side you don't rate that made it to the World Cup final. Let alone have it be a class above that very good side and be branded "world class."

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I never said I don't rate Croatia as a squad. I've been saying for years they've got a better side on paper than Argentina. They were a terrible unit though, and that's just my own silly personal opinion. Maybe 1 Copa America doesn't make you a World Cup contender, but 2 in a row? Especially in the manner that they did it. It's just like the Euros really. Some people like to downgrade the Copa but it's just as important as the Euros if you ask me.

Chile from the 2014 world cup was much better than this Croatia. In general, the standard was higher in the last tournament. 

We can agree to disagree. 

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2 minutes ago, Stan said:

@Blue - genuine question - why does it always seem like you have to relate everything back to Chile xD ?!

I can't stand Chile, but I have to admit they were a bloody good side a few years ago. 

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1 minute ago, Blue said:

I never said I don't rate Croatia as a squad. I've been saying for years they've got a better side on paper than Argentina. They were a terrible unit though, and that's just my own silly personal opinion. Maybe 1 Copa America doesn't make you a World Cup contender, but 2 in a row? Especially in the manner that they did it. It's just like the Euros really. Some people like to downgrade the Copa but it's just as important as the Euros if you ask me.

Chile from the 2014 world cup was much better than this Croatia. In general, the standard was higher in the last tournament. 

We can agree to disagree. 

I agree with the bolded part. But you can only beat what's in front of you in any given tournament. It's not Croatia's fault that only one of the sides they faced that was better than them was France - I also don't think that them playing over 90 minutes against a Russia side that was dripping with performance enhancing drugs is necessarily a negative for them either tbh.

As for the Copa America stuff... maybe I'm biased because I generally dislike international football other than the World Cup. But the World Cup is like the Champions League, the pinnacle cup to win in international football. At least in my eyes. All the other ones... they're the Europa League. You want to win it if you're in it... but I don't put a whole lot of stock in whether or not the winner of that tournament is any fucking good or not. Let's see how they do in a World Cup for me to care more. Last in the rankings of importance of international tournaments is the UEFA Nations League or whatever the fuck they call it - the Intertoto Cup of international football. Pointless and shite. Then there's international friendlies, which I have nothing good to say about either.

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