Japan 1 – 3 Australia

There were a lot of long faces on the buses this morning, as the result the morning after the first of Japan’s World Cup 2006 games hit home, and it didn’t taste too good.

Despite going ahead in the 26th minute from a Nakamura goal, Japan conceded 3 goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. BBC did a decent review here.

I think most people agreed, including Japan coach Zico that Japan just seemed to step down a gear after that first goal, and the Australians just kept going. The team looked far too confident – over confident in fact.

Truthfully, Japan played better football overall, but the bottom line is the number balls over the line, and Australia deserved something for their positive attitude to the final whistle. Most worrying was that after the equaliser Japan just seemed to fall apart. Next up is Croatia for Japan, and I hope Zico (who I don’t rate much as a coach for Japan) can pull the team up.

Oh yes, and in front of goal the Japanese strikers need to go a bit more on gut instinct; some of their failed attacks faltered as strikers passed the ball between themselves endlessly as Australia’s defences regrouped and robbed them of possession. I half expected them to break out into a janken game at one point to see who would shoot.