The U23 teams of Japan and Argentina will measure their strength in two friendly matches to be held this Friday in Tokyo and next Monday in Kita Kyushu, and which will serve as a test for the next Olympic Games.
The “blue samurai”, classified as hosts for the Olympic event which is scheduled to begin in four months, will receive the albiceleste before their public, who in turn obtained her pass to the Games as champion of the Conmebol pre-Olympic tournament and who is among the favorites to win gold in Tokyo.
“You always aim for that goal, for that we have been preparing and going through stages,” said the Argentine coach, Fernando Batista, in a telematic press conference offered this Thursday from Tokyo.
Batista pointed out that the two games will allow him “to see how the team is doing in terms of football” and to test for the Games “with players who could not be in qualifying.
The coach has had difficulties preparing his call “due to complications in some countries due to the pandemic”, which prevented him from bringing in players such as Lisandro (Ajax from Amsterdam) and Balerdi (Olympique de Marseille), he explained.
The coach will be able to count on men who have been regular in the pre-Olympic as the forwards Urzi (Banfield) and Adolfo Gaich (Benevento Calcio) or the defenders Hernán De La Fuente (Vélez Sarsfield) and Nehuén Pérez (Granada).
Together with them they could have a new opportunity in the albiceleste Ascacíbar (Hertha Berlin) or Fernando Valenzuela (Famalicão) to form an eleven with which the coach aspires to maintain his style of play based “on possession and being protagonists”.
As for his rival, Batista awaits a “difficult” and “very important” selection, in which he highlighted attacker Takefusa Kubo, currently on loan to Getafe from Real Madrid, among other players.
The “blue samurai” will feature other prominent players such as Ryotaro Meshino (Rio Ave), Yuta Nakayama (PEC Zwolle) or Kaoru Mitoma (Kawasaki Frontale), among the most promising of a team that other footballers who play have not been able to join either. abroad due to the pandemic.
“I have called the players based on their recent performance and to see what their real conditions are. It gives me the impression that they are very hungry,” Japanese coach Akinobu Yokouchi said at a press conference., in a virtual press conference.
The two teams will meet for the first time on Friday at the Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo and for the second time next Monday at the Kita Kyushu Stadium (Southwest Japan), two matches that will be held before a limited number of public due to the restrictions applied by the Japanese authorities due to the pandemic.
Both Japan and Argentina are among the 16 teams that will compete in the Olympic tournament scheduled between July 21 and August 7, and whose draw will be held on April 21 in Zurich (Switzerland).
Japan: Osako; Itakura, Seko, Watanabe, Sugawara; Tanaka, Nakayama, Soma, Mitoma; Kubo and Tagawa.
Argentina: Blázquez; Hernán De La Fuente, Nehuén Pérez, Bruno Amione, Milton Valenzuela; Santiago Ascacíbar, Matías Vargas, Lucas González, Santiago Colombatto; Agustín Urzi and Adolfo Gaich.