EAFF East Asian Cup 2013 & EAFF Women’s East Asian Cup 2013 Final Competition



Will the Asian Champion Japan Conquer the EAFF East Asian Cup Too?


The Japanese team led by Alberto Zaccheroni is considered Asia’s top team. Unlike its competing teams, it has had excellent results in the recent matches, winning the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, and easily making it through the preliminaries for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Spectators are hoping to see if Japan will successfully continue its parade of victories in the EAFF East Asian Cup.

In this year’s EAFF East Asian Cup, Head coach Alberto Zaccheroni is looking to find useful backup players for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Therefore, the obvious key players in the Japanese national team, like Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa will not be running in this year’s EAFF East Asian Cup. Instead, the squad is comprised of J League players. In terms of tactics, repairing the team’s defense is likely to be his first objective. In June last year, Japan lost three matches out of three, in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, due to weak defense that tipped the game despite the otherwise reasonable performance. The lack of capable center-backs other than Maya Yoshida, was revealed as a serious weakness. How much potential the J League’s Defenders like Daisuke Suzuki unleash in the EAFF East Asian Cup has become an important tactical factor. Moreover, the fact Japan’s spectacular performance has been sort of weakening, as seen through the Confederations Cup and the last few matches of World Cup preliminaries, seems to indicate an issue that needs to be dealt with. Although Japan is not playing with all of the best players it has got, the EAFF East Asian Cup is a great opportunity for the team to show that it hasn’t lost it yet.

Head Coach Alberto Zaccheroni

Alberto Zaccheroni is a distinguished Italian head coach with experience in prestigious Serie A teams like Juventus F.C. and A.C. Milan. He took the seat as a successor to Takeshi Okada, who led the Japanese team to the round of sixteen in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He is well known for his meticulous analysis of opponent teams and motivating leadership, and his understanding of Japanese culture is said to have helped him bring the Japanese team to the top as the head coach. Building upon the accomplishments of his predecessor, he has transformed the team into a beast with a powerful push and a sharp offense. His team climbed to the top in the 2011 Asian Cup, and scored five wins and two draws with just one loss in the Asian final qualifying rounds for the 2014 World Cup. Until now, Zaccheroni often built his team out of players in the European leagues, therefore it will be interesting to see how he will handle the game this year with J League players.

Star Player Genki Haraguchi

Genki Haraguchi is one of the well-recognized strikers in the J-League. This Franchise Star from Urawa Reds once received love calls from Bayern Munich, and showed great potential when he scored nine goals as the 2011 season key player. He is a versatile player who generally plays as a winger, but is also capable of running as a midfielder. He is recognized for his impressive footwork, and knife-like penetration into the penalty arc from the left. His masterful mid-range shooting with is right foot is also very well known, with which he does not fear to take his chance. He is also known for his temperament. Such characteristic often results in a quarrel with his coach and colleagues, but it also proves his great enthusiasm in the game.