(Extended highlights of Japan’s muted opening Toulon Tournament performance, handed a 2-0 defeat by an impressive Turkey)
0 Min: Welcome to today’s live blog, as the Under-23 Samurai Blue begin their final preparations for the London 2012 Olympic Football tournament in France. I’ll have team news for you very shortly. Please note that there will be a gap of a minimum fifteen minutes in this live blog, owing to the manner of the broadcast in Europe.
0 Min: Turkey – Taskiran, Tokak, Bagliolu, Demir (captain), Dogan, Kucik, Soylemezgiller, Dursun, Kiraz, Kose, Gural
Substitutes – Ozenc, Cetinkaya, Tozlu, Cevahir, Kayali, Odabasi, Uysal, Seker
0 Min: Japan – Ando; Sakai, Yoshida. Suzuki, Hamada; Ogihara, Mizunuma, Higashi, Yamamoto; Osako, Otsu
Substitutes – Masuda; Higa, Yamamura; Oiwa, Muramatsu, Usami, Takagi; Saito, Ibusuki
0 Min: The referee and his assistants for this match are from Belgium, Messrs Efong-Nzolo, Berbiers and Huens.
16 Mins: We’ve just passed the first quarter of an hour, and the score is currently Turkey 0 Japan 0.
18 Mins: Japan have a free-kick 20 yards from goal as Keigo Higashi is brought down. Three players are over the ball, but it is slammed straight into the wall by Ogihara, and subsequently cleared.
20 Mins: Dogan is in space on the left, and he feeds Ferhat Kiraz who sends a fierce ball across the six yard box, well stopped by Shunsuke Ando in goal for Japan.
23 Mins: Yuya Osako draws a good save from Taskiran diving to his left, cutting inside Aykut Demir to shoot right-footed in the 18 yard area.
25 Mins: Japan captain Daisuke Suzuki is all over the back of Tevfik Kose, and gives away a free-kick two yards infield near halfway. The free-kick finds Kiraz, who heads on and shoots, but under pressure from Yutaka Yoshida it’s weak and easy for Ando to gather.
28 Mins: Yoshida clips Kose’s ankles to concede a free-kick on the halfway line.
30 Mins: Kosuke Yamamoto climbs over Kose to win a header, this time 35 yards from goal.
31 Mins: Demir, the captain, joins the attack, as Gural drifts a ball into the penalty area, but there’s a push on Mizuki Hamada and Japan have a set piece in their own area.
32 Mins: That’s roughly six free kicks within the past four minutes. Mizunuma and then Yamada are both fouled. Very scrappy in midfield.
33 Mins: Kota Mizunuma has an opening after excellent play on the left flank from Yuya Osako, beating Kemal Tokak on the right and finding the attacking midfielder in the box. He strikers first time left-footed, but it’s well blocked by Hikmet Bagliolu.
33 Mins: Yamamoto is robbed in midfield after dallying on the ball by Kose, who provides Gural with the ball, but Japan are back quickly to crowd the Turkish side out.
34 Mins: Salih Dursun is very late on Yuki Otsu, and is booked in the game’s first yellow card.
36 Mins: Another poor challenge, Ali Kucik high on Takahiro Ogiharo, catching the midfielder on the knee, and he is also shown a yellow card.
37 Mins: Ferhat Kiraz breaks down the left. He’s past both Gotoku Sakai and Yutaka Yoshida, but his shot from close range is deflected out by a sprawling Shunsuke Ando.
38 Mins: Kiraz’s cross is punched well clear by Shunsuke Ando.
40 Mins+1: Aykut Demir follows up a free-kick which is headed straight up into the air by Daisuke Suzuki with a volley from the edge of the six-yard area, but it’s into the side netting. Ando was well placed to save had the volley been on target.
HT: It’s the last action of the period as M. Efong Nzolo blows his whistle to signal for half-time.
HT: Turkey 0 Japan 0
HT: Very few opportunities for either side, Mizunuma very quickly closed down in the penalty area before he could find a shooting angle, the best of the chances falling to Kiraz after a burst down the left, but Ando stayed upright for long enough to put his body in the way and concede a corner. Stiflingly hot conditions and long grass in Toulon are not working in Japan’s favour, particularly for the attacking midfield of Otsu, Higashi and Mizunuma.
40 Mins: Tevfik Kose has the ball in the centre circle, as we recommence in Toulon. No changes to report for either side.
41 Mins: Another free-kick. Ogihara is into the ankles of Gural.
42 mins: A corner for Turkey at the start of this second-half, as Gural’s cross is put behind by Yoshida.
42 Mins: The corner is swung left-footed to the penalty spot, and Dursun has a free header. Fortunately for Japan it’s wide of Ando’s right upright.
43 Mins: Tokak tries to utilise his side’s height advantage with a long throw, but Suzuki rises to head away.
45 Mins: Keigo Higashi has a strike from distance, attempting a lob from 35 yards, but it doesn’t trouble Taskiran as it sails over his crossbar.
46 Mins: Ali Kucik falls at the merest touch, and wins his side a free-kick on the right.
46 Mins: A superb cross from Kiraz finds an unmarked Dursun once more, but he misses badly from four yards. Turkey should be in the lead.
47 Mins: Turkey are the stronger side in these opening minutes of the second half.
48 Mins: Gotoku Sakai is in obvious discomfort as he goes down under a challenge from Kucik and immediately signals that there is a problem. Turkey, meanwhile, are readying a substitute, Abdulkadir Kayali due to replace Soylemezgiller.
49 Mins: Sakai also leaves the field as he is unable to continue, Kazuki Oiwa takes the field in his place.
51 Mins: Superb defending from Ogihara as he takes the ball away from Ferhat Kiraz inside Japan’s 18-yard box. Perfectly timed from the defensive midfielder.
52 Mins:Kemal Tokak is shown a yellow card as he puts an arm across Yuki Otsu’s shoulders.
54 Mins: Another yellow card, this time for a Japan player as Ogihara is very late on Gural. It deserved at least a yellow.
55 Mins: Japan have a set piece 10 yards infield on the left, approximately 35 yards from goal. Kosuke Yamamoto bends the ball into the area right-footed. It clears Osako and finds Otsu behind him, whose header is too strong and it’s over the crossbar for a goal-kick to Turkey.
55 Mins: Another set piece for Turkey in an attacking position, as Kucik is rapped on the ankles.
56 Mins: GOAL! The free-kick from Gural is bent left-footed, and it’s an own goal from Kazuki Oiwa, as he flicks the ball into the right corner beyond a helpless Ando.
56 Mins: Turkey 1 Japan 0
57 Mins: A change for Japan, as Yuki Otsu comes off Manabu Saito. Kucik, who has been excellent, also exits play, for Ismail Odabasi.
60 Mins: Twenty minutes left for Japan to find an equaliser. A surprising result and a surprisingly poor performance from Japan so far.
62 Mins: Kose is being held by Suzuki, and it’s a free-kick to the right of Ando’s penalty area. Dursun’s low delivery is knocked clear.
65 Mins: Referee Efong Nzolo stops play as Kiraz stays down within Japan’s 18 yard box.
67 Mins: A double change for Japan. Kosuke Yamamoto is off for Yoshiaki Takagi, and Yuya Osako is replaced by Hiroshi Ibusuki. Japan immediately win a free-kick on the right edge of the penalty area.
69 Mins: Eren Tozlu comes on for Ferhat Kiraz.
69 Mins: Ogihara whips the ball across the area, aimed for Ibusuki, and Demir outleaps the striker to clear.
70 Mins: Japan have a corner, to be taken by Ogihara from the right. Turkey can’t clear, and the ball eventually falls to Ibusuki. He fails to connect properly with this shot, however, and it’s a gentle prod into the body of Taskiran, with two teammates in better positions.
72 Mins: Emre Gural makes way for Necip Uysal.
73 Mins: GOAL! Odabasi skips clear of Gotoku Sakai on the right after a lovely throughball, and taking the ball to the touchline, he pulls it back for Eden Tozlu to slide home from three yards.
73 Mins: Turkey 2 Japan 0
74 Mins: Ibusuki pulls a save out of Taskiran, a first-time left-footed volley beaten away at the near post from the left. It’s the first real save the Turkish goalkeeper has had to make in this half, and an indication of how little Japan have done overall.
77 Mins: There may well be four or five minutes of added time, as Salih Dursun stays down to receive treatment.
79 Mins: Odabasi holds his run, collecting the ball on the right, and Gotoku Sakai tackles to give away throw. Turkey now keeping possession.
80 Mins: Four minutes to be added on.
80 Mins+2: Japan, lethargic, lacking ideas, not winning loose balls and frequently misplacing places, have been well-beaten in their first group game by a strong Turkey side who have out-muscled and out-played Japan in midfield.
83 Mins: A late yellow card for Turkey as Kota Mizunuma is pulled back by Hikmet Bagliolu. The free-kick, however, is claimed in the air by Taskiran.
84 Mins: Referee Efong Nzolo draws the match to a close.
FT: Turkey 2 Japan 0
FT: A very disappointing start to a tournament in which Japan’s Under-23 side was expected to challenge. Takashi Sekizuka has a great deal to consider, with Manabu Saito and Hiroshi Ibusuki making a significant impact upon their introduction, while Keigo Higashi and Yuki Otsu offered little within in the advanced midfield three. Defending at set pieces also left a lot to be desired, Japan’s man-to-man system regularly undone by poor positioning. Next is a very demanding fixtures against the Netherlands, from which they must take at least a point to stand any chance of participating in the competition beyond the group stage.
FT: Thank you for joining me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s coverage.