Japan Makes Shock Exit From 2020 AFC U23 Championship

Japan is one of the countries with the most developed football in Asia. The early elimination in the Asian U23 tournament is rare for this country.

For the first time in the history of the Asian U23 tournament, Japan was eliminated from the group stage. Defeats to Syria and Saudi Arabia caused Japan to be eliminated from the Asian U23 tournament after 2 matches. Japan is considered the U23 Championship Candidate. However, they received a 1-2 defeat against Syria in the match in Group B of the Asian Cup finals on January 12.

These two defeats are the first time Japanese football has lost two consecutive matches in a continental tournament after 32 years. At the 1988 Asian Cup, the Japanese team was eliminated from the group stage after 2 consecutive losses against Korea and Qatar.

From the failure of the 1988 Asian Cup, Japan strives to become the power of continental football. The results of the Asian U23 tournament stunned Japanese experts and fans.

Immediately after the match with Syria, Japanese Football Federation President (JFA) Kozo Tashima said it was an unacceptable defeat for Japanese football. Tashima also refused to talk about the future of Moriyasu, the team’s coach.

Moriyasu, on his answer to the Soccerking page, said the coach was failing because of his failure to prepare for the tournament.

Japanese media reported that JFA was disappointed with the performance of coach Moriyasu in recent years. The 51-year-old coach received much criticism after his defeat in the Asian Cup in 2019 when Japan lost to Qatar in the final. In December 2019, Japan lost to Korea in the East Asia Cup final (EAFF E1 Championship).

According to Sponichi Annex, coach Hajime Moriyasu is likely to be fired by the Japan Football Federation in the near future. Mr. Moriyasu was appointed as the head of the Japan national team in July 2018 to replace coach Akira Nishino. Moriyasu also took control of the Japanese U23 team in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.