Hiroshi Kiyotake, one of five Japanese to have played in both the German and Spanish top divisions, was happy to see his nation join the previous Football World Cup winners in Group E of this year’s contest in Qatar. Presently captaining Cerezo Osaka in the J. League first division, the 32-year-old said his emotion was not necessarily just nostalgia from his time in Europe but more from Japan getting to face two title favourites on the biggest platform.
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I’ve been away from the home team for a while, so I was hoping to see the matchups as an individual Japan fan, Kiyotake, who was last called up in March 2017 before a series of injuries ruled him out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, told media reporter freshly. It’d be usually looked at as a tough group, but I felt we’ve gone into a good one. I was hoping for us to go in there a bit and said, wow, it’d be interesting.
An active attacker with vision and delicate touches off both feet, Kiyotake was a vital cog in Japan’s fourth-place finish at the 2012 London Olympics, where the side beat Spain 1-0 in the opener at Hampden Park. His only Football World Cup arrival came in 2014 in Brazil, but he remained on the bench as Japan hurt a 2-1 comeback defeat to Ivory Coast before a 0-0 draw with 10-man Greece.
He came on with just five minutes left in the final group game against Colombia as the Japan football team lost 4-1 to exit the competition. From my time at the Olympics and FIFA World Cup, I feel the significance of the first game, he said. Getting the energy hinges on that game. The Oita Trinita youth product left Cerezo for Germany right after the Olympics, and following two seasons each with Nurnberg and Hannover, scoring 17 goals in 117 Bundesliga attendances, Kiyotake sees common refrains in Japanese and German players.
Germany is quite similar to Japan in that everyone plays with discipline, and in that sense, I’m supposing a solid approach from both teams with individual differences settling the matter, he said. While acknowledging Germany as a well-balanced squad marshalled by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Kiyotake said three points should remain the Japan Football World Cup team goal rather than thinking about a draw from the start.
We’ve got the chance to play a really good team in Germany and I want Japan to go for the win, and a part of me thinks we actually could, he said. We’ve got many troupes playing in Germany, some in Spain too, and I calculate it’d be easier playing games against sides with players who many of our members know well. Kiyotake’s spell in Spain took half a season after he joined the then three-time reigning Europa League winner, Sevilla, in 2016.
It remains debatably the most high-profile Japanese move to La Liga, with Takefusa Kubo yet to play for his parent club Real Madrid. Yoshito Okubo, Takashi Inui, Shinji Okazaki and Yoshinori Muto, who all had Bundesliga spells, played for sides out of title contention in Spain. Kiyotake had a favourable debut, playing a full 120 minutes in a 3-2 extra-time UEFA Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, before scoring one and setting up another in Sevilla’s 6-4 La Liga opening win over Espanyol.
But things fizzled out following Samir Nasri’s late loan arrival from Manchester City, compounded by Kiyotake’s language issues. The rivalry for attacking midfield positions was fierce and one of his direct rivals, left-footed Pablo Sarabia who joined the Andalusian team at the same time, is set to stand in Japan’s way in Qatar. He was a really serious, quiet player and very skilful from the start, Kiyotake said of the 30-year-old Paris Saint-Germain man, who scored in Spain’s last two UEFA Nations League games against Switzerland and the Czech Republic in June.
The way he kept the ball was exclusive, difficult for others to dispossess. He could lay it off to someone if put under pressure or use that as a ruse to skip past a defender himself. But the biggest thing was his knack to be in front of a goal. It’s hard to be both a playmaker and finisher, and that’s where I think he’s a good player. Kiyotake nonetheless has the experience of beating Spain in Glasgow and suggested the tireless approach from that game, which saw Japan’s technically gifted counterparts go a man down after yielding, could provide a foothold.
Our pre-Olympic reputation wasn’t high at all and our priority was to run hard at them as we had nothing to lose. We were putting each of their players under pressure all the time, he said. I think that will be a must against the Spain Football World Cup team. They’ll have the majority of control and will peel away easily if we keep doing one-on-ones, so how we pressurize their ball-holder will be important. For more to know about Football World Cup Tickets click here.
The colour structures for Germany’s new FIFA World Cup kits
We don’t have all the details yet, but we’re feeling pretty good about the supplies already. At long last, German admirers around the world will be in good feelings. After an unsatisfactory Football World Cup and an average Euros, former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick took over the reins and went on a winning run that trained Germany for the World Cup before any other nation other than hosts Qatar.
Now, German supporters will have even more reason to celebrate, as some information regarding the kits they will suit up in has now been unconfined. As of now, no specific design has been leaked, but, as per gossip from media, fans can at least look forward to the colour combination of both the home and away kits, and may we just say, they’re looking pretty good. We’ll start with the home kit.
The new Germany home kit will feature white and black, the main colours of every Germany home kit. These two colours will be joined by an unconventional addition, metallic gold. The official colour name is “Tactile Gold Metallic,” and has already been contained on a couple of Adidas products. Gold has been used very thriftily on German kits in the past decade, despite it being one of the three main colours of the national flag.
Until now, it has been narrow to slight splashes, like on the 2006 and 2008 home kits, or thin lines, like on 2010, 2012, and 2014 FIFA World Cup kits. The current kit also has a touch of gold, but only on the tips of the sleeves. It is strange as to how prominent the gold will be on the upcoming kit, but having been reported as the main colour, there is ample room to suggest that it will take on a bigger role than on previous kits.
Let’s move on to the away kit. There is good news for admirers all around as they won’t have to say goodbye to the current away kit’s colour arrangement, which has been quite popular. The new away kit will be black just like the current one. Here’s the alteration, while the recent kit’s highlights and logos were all in carbon black/dark grey, the new away kit will swap those colours for metallic gold and dark maroon, or “Shadow Maroon,” according to Adidas.
While gold has been used a few times on Germany Football World Cup team away shirts, maroon will be a new addition. No German gear in recent memory has featured a maroon shade, with the closest example being the different shades of red on the 2014 home kit. Again, no design is accessible at the moment, so fans can only gamble on how these colours will be utilized on the jersey.
However, Germany fans have a good reason to be optimistic, as the kit is likely to be similar to the 2010 World Cup away kit in terms of colour combination. 2010 away kit is one of the most popular German kits ever to be released, and admirers will be hoping that the upcoming kit will be just as good-looking as the 2010 version, if not better.
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