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Team of the Week
26 July 2012
• Hampden Park, Glasgow
Referee: M. Geiger
• Attendance: 37726
Y. Otsu 34'
A fully deserved result for the Japanese who denied Spain the space in which to play and they counterattacked superbly. La Roja never really got going and lacked penetration in the final third. Thank you for joining us here at Goal.com for our LIVE coverage of today's game. My name is Tom Webber and it has been a pleasure to guide you through the action.
THAT IS IT!! Japan have defeated Spain 1-0 with a goal from Otsu in their opening game at the Olympics to secure what is their first ever victory at any level against La Roja!
90' + 4'
Possibly one last chance for Spain but Mata's free kick in towards Javi Martinez is headed away by the indomitable Yoshida. Kiyotake runs the ball up the other end and looks to wind the clock down in the corner.
90' + 3'
Saito tries to dance his way into the Spain box but he is stopped by the final man. This would be just how Japan would have wanted to finish the game.
90' + 2'
Japan come forward again and Hagashi finds space on the left at the edge of the box. He gets his head up and squares the ball but De Gea dives down to get his hands on it.
90' + 1'
WHAT A MISS!! Spain caught thin at the back again and Japan seem to have ages in which to play the ball across the box. Yamaguchi is eventually picked out but he completely slices his effort and fails to test De Gea.
An additional four minutes have been added on!
Yellow Card Álvaro Domínguez
A poorly placed pass by Mata puts Dominguez under pressure on the half-way line. Saito manages to beat the defender to it but he is dragged to the floor by the Spaniard in order to stop him from going through. He receives a booking for the cynical challenge.
WHAT A SAVE!! Romeu is caught on the ball after some more phenomenal chasing by Nagai. He breaks into the area and tries to dink the ball over De Gea with his left foot but the keeper manages to get a hand to the ball and turn it behind.
Javi Martinez is almost caught out as the last man by Nagai but manages to lift the ball over the striker who would have been through on goal. Spain build from that and Tello almost finds himself in space in the area but Gonda rushes out to deny him it.
Nagai drifts out to the right at spots Saito in space on the far side and he bends a great ball over to the back post. Saito tries to then cushion it into the danger area but it is intercepted.
Mata plumps for shot with a free kick from 35 yards out but he skies the ball and is nowhere near testing Gonda. They would probably have been better just getting that down and playing.
Both teams are starting to look a bit thin when attacking now with neither wanting to concede the game. Not long now for Japan to secure their first ever victory over Spain at any level.
Good work by Gonda! Mata is really trying to lead by example and he exchanges a give-and-go to put Jordi Alba in behind the defence. Gonda rushes out to close down the Barcelona man and he then gets back into position to deny Mata from slotting in the rebound.
Japan showing no signs of tiring as of yet as they continue to close the Spaniards down in their own half. Up the other end Mata tries to thread a pass through to Montoya but Yoshida reads it and gets across to cut it out. He has had a good game.
Hiroki Sakai goes down and is unable to continue after that injury. He is replaced by his namesake Gotoku Sakai in defence. Just 15 minutes left for Japan to keep the Spaniards out and secure a huge victory.
Finally Japan manage to put another chance together but their finishing again leaves a bit to be desired. Tokunaga ventures forward and finds Kiyotake in space in the area. He should shoot first time but decides to take a forward touch and by the point he loses the opportunity to get an effort away.
A break in play here as Sakai has gone down after a nasty looking twist on his knee when clearing the ball. Fortunately he is on his feet and the game looks set to continue. Whether he will or not remains to be seen.
Japan just asking Nagai to chase everything now and there counterattacks are lacking focus. Coinciding with Spain being in the ascendancy they need to be careful of not losing their advantage.
Decent spell for Spain here. Romeu seems to have made things at the back a bit more organised and allowed the forward players extra freedom. Mata tries to scythe his way through the defence and into the area but the ball takes a knock and goes behind. Spain looking to change the pace of the game.
Much better from Montoya! Another forward run down the right enables him to get in behind the defence. He rolls the ball across the area but Yoshida intercepts and even manages to turn it straight away from danger.
Shaky moment for Spain there! A lofted long ball from deep is being chased down by Nagai. Dominguez is aware of him rapidly closing in and nods the ball to De Gea. However, he is a bit overzealous and almost sends it past the keeper.
Montoya makes his first really dangerous run forward from the left. He is sent down into the right corner but is tracked all the way by the Japanese defender and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Oriol Romeu coming on for Spain, hard to see how such a change will add any more creativity to the side, particularly with Isco going off.
A corner for Spain is sent in deep by Isco and Gonda comes out to try and claim the ball. This time he gets nowhere near it but Javi Martinez heads the ball well wide of goal.
Yellow Card Manabu Saito
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR JAPAN!! They win the ball back in the middle of the park and immediately send it forward. Kiyotake comes across from the right and rides two challenges on the edge of the box. He is lucky but he finds space to get a shot away but, similarly to Nagai, he sends it narrowly wide of the far post.
Japan just are not giving Spain a moments rest, perhaps even more so this half. It was a worry they could become complacent with the extra man but they have stepped it up a level now.
HE'S MISSED IT!! Acres of space between the centre-backs is exploited by Hagashi who taps Sakai's pass through to Nagai. The striker takes it in his stride and tries to pass the ball into the far corner but his effort narrowly shades the outside of the post.
Another counterattack from Japan sees Kitoyake charge into space on the right side. He tries to slide the ball across the floor and into the path of Nagai but he fails to adjust his feet and his first touch let him down. Excellent ball across from the wide-man though.
Once more here is our man at the stadium, Matthew Harold, who has been impressed by the leaders: "The Japanese have continued from where they left off in the first half, exposing the weak Spanish rearguard and right now it only looks a matter of time until they claim second goal."
Electric turn of pace from Nagai after Japan win the ball again in the Spanish half. The striker runs to the byeline and stands his cutback up on the penalty spot. Unfortunately the support is lacking and Spain manage to get the ball away.
Spain still not afraid to push men forward but they just became completely lopsided with almost all their players standing on the right flank. Japan noted and switched the ball to Sakai on their right but his delivery was too long.
Spain try to build a quick attack but Rodrigo fails to make the most of Mata's pass. The Benfica man, as well as Adrian, have been quiet up to now and really need to try and push beyond the opposition defence.
GREAT SAVE!!! Mata is dispossessed in his own final third and Nagai plays the ball to Hagashi 20 yards from goal. From a left-of-centre position he tries to caress the ball into the top corner but De Gea dives to his left and claws the ball away from goal.
Japan remaining happy to let Spain have the ball. It essentially limits the effect of having an additional man as Javi Martinez will step forward from a deeper role. It is clear they will try and lure them into that and explode on the Spanish with a break.
Jordi Alba tries to break forward down the left and inject a bit of pace to his side but he is halted by the Japanese defender. The leaders try to launch a counterattack but the pass upfield rolls through to De Gea.
The second half has begun at Hampden Park. Can Japan hold onto their one-goal advantage against 10-man Spain? We are about to find out.
Welcome back! The teams are out on the pitch and we are just a few seconds away from kick off.
Poor defending from Montoya and De Gea on the goal with a lack of communication. Otsu did well to bundle it home and Spain face a tough task to come back in this one. Join me in 10 minutes for the second half.
Spain lacking penetration so far but that is largely down to the numbers that Japan are getting behind the ball. Not only limiting the space but picking the right moments to make their move and go for the ball.
The referee has called half time and Japan are leading Spain by 1-0. Not a fantastic performance from La Roja but Japan have been excellent in closing down and counterattacking.
45' + 1'
Otsu bulldozes his way into the area from left to right. On first impression his strike at goal looks a bit wild but it appears to have taken a deflection. However, the referee did not see it and a goal kick is awarded.
Just the one minute of additional time.
Japan maintaining their quick pressing game. It should be even more effective now with Spain down to 10 but could always cause complacency. They will be very pleased with how this first 45 minutes have turned out.
Ogihara takes the free kick for Japan but fails to find the gaping half of the goal that De Gea leaves open. What can Spain do from here?
Red Card Íñigo Martínez
RED CARD MARTINEZ!!! Spain are down to ten men! Nagai goes through on goal but he is dragged to goal under pressure from Inigo Martinez. Japan may also be disappointed that their quick free kick which resulted in a goal has been disallowed.
Yellow Card Jordi Alba
Our man at the stadium, Matthew Harold, shares his thoughts on that almost-blip from Spain: "Some terrible defending by Alvaro Dominguez nearly puts his team in an even bigger hole, coach Luis Milla will have to sort out his defence at half time if the Spanish want to win this game."
ALMOST A GIVE AWAY!! In trying to keep the ball at the back a misplaced pass forces Dominguez to send a hopeful pass towards De Gea. Kiyotake steals in and rounds the keeper but from such an acute angle he fails to find the back of the net. A real let off for the Spanish there.
It is hard to deny that Japan have deserved that. De Gea failed to come and claim the corner and while it may have been a bit of a scrappy finish, Otsu will no doubt be delighted. Will Spain be able to pull one back before the break?
Assist Takahiro Ogihara
Goal Yuki Otsu
GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAALL!! Japan take the lead! After another swift break Hagashi wins a corner for his side. Ogihara sends it in and Otsu manages find space to stab it past De Gea and into the back of the net. Japan lead!
Mata dribbles his way into the box but instead of shooting he tries to lay the ball off. Sakai manages to get in between and he clears the ball away from danger.
Not quite as comfortable as would have been expected for Spain so far. They are lacking penetration on the ground but credit must go to Japan for their hard work defensively up to now.
Isco is having a fairly impressive game in the opposing half. Floating across the pitch and picking up the ball, he just seems to glide in possession. You get the feeling he could produce that one killer ball that could make all the difference.
Japan win possession in their half and break forwards at pace. Otsu slips the ball into Nagai and the striker once more looks to move inside. His momentum causes him to stumble and the chance vanishes. If he had just opted to shoot there he could well have given De Gea something to think about.
Excellent early ball from Otsu exploits the space behind Spain's high line and Nagai runs onto it. He ducks inside and puts in a cross but it is eventually hacked away by La Roja.
GREAT SAVE BY GONDA!! Mata picks the ball up on the right and comes inside, putting the ball onto his favoured left foot. He rifles a shot at goal which looks to be heading in the bottom corner at the near post but the keeper gets down to it and parries it behind. From the resultant corner Gonda punches clear. That last minute will inspire confidence in his defence.
A quick free kick is taken by Spain as they try to catch the Japanese unaware. They move the ball from right to left with succinct passes but once more they end up making an error. They should become rarer as the game moves on however.
Spain are being very patient when attacking but Japan are doing well to choose the moments to close the space. They eventually force La Roja into misplacing a pass and launch a counterattack but a poor final pass sees the ball roll out of play.
Otsu looks to be in space when he receives the ball in the middle of Spain's half but Isco shows great determination to get back and steal the ball off his toe. Excellent to see such tracking from a forward-thinking player.
Nagai is looking very lively in the opening stages and possibly should have won a free kick on the edge of the area after being brought down by Mata. Tokunaga is attacking well from left-back but he will need to offer his team-mate support far quicker to be effective.
Japan's high pressing on Spain is good to see but they also looking increasingly rushed when they finally win the ball. They are making decisions far too quickly which ultimately leads them to give the ball straight back to their opponents.
Otsu tries to turn his man from a throw in and come inside from the left but an array of light-blue shirts rapidly close in on him. He has one unrealistic pass that he could possibly play but he is falling as he tries to pull it off and loses possession.
La Roja have settled on the ball already though and Japan are going to have a tough time trying to get it back. Mata finds space on the left and searches out Adrian in the box but he puts a bit too much on it and it rolls out for a throw in.
Spain are making attacking look so easy. Mata plays it wide to Montoya who sends it down the line to Isco. The Malaga man squares the ball across the box but there is no one on the end of it. Adrian and Rodrigo are not the kind of strikers to be getting on the end of those.
Isco misplaces a pass in the middle of the park and Nagai latches onto it. He is fairly isolated wide on the left but he does well to turn his man but his attempted cross is headed away by Dominguez. Good early signs for both sides here.
Japan get back with two banks of four but Spain manage to find a way through with Mata charging to the byeline just inside the right of the box. He is closed down by Suzuki who concedes a corner but La Roja fail to capitalise on the set piece.
Spain of course are champions at World, European, Euro Under-21 and Under-19 levels. Can they add the Under-23 Olympic gold to that? It would make for a fairly impressive haul.
JUST WIDE!! Isco dribbles through the middle but space is limited and he offloads the ball. Juan Mata then spreads the play with a low pass to Rodrigo, 20 yards from goal and wide on the left. He aims for the far corner but his effort curls away from the goal.
Spain are forced back into their own half but after a few brisk passes they work their way out of trouble and hold onto possession. It looks like Japan are going to do their best to rush the Spaniards but they currently look capable of dealing with it.
Nagai peels off his marker at the back post and he tries to volley an effort on target from a lofted diagonal ball. He makes a connection but it lacks the power to really test De Gea in the Spanish goal.
Inigo Martinez looking a bit nervy on the ball at the back in the opening stages as is quickly closed by the Japanese side. Fortunately possession falls to one of his team-mates as he avoids an embarrassing start.
We are off at Hampden Park!
The teams are all ready to go. Kick off is just seconds away.
A very exciting line-up for the Spanish today but Japan have been relentless in their preparation for the tournament. They won bronze back in 1968 while Spain's last medal was a silver at the 2000 Games.
Spain are wearing their light blue kit today, Japan in a darker shade of the same colour. Let's hope that the national anthems pass without a hitch!
Japan: Gonda, Tokunaga, Ohgihara, Sakai, Yoshida, Otsu, Higashi, Nagai, Suzuki, Yamaguchi, Kiyotake. Substitutes: Muramatsu, Yamamura, Sugimoto, Sakai, Usami, Saito, Ando.
Spain: De Gea, Montoya, Dominguez, Inigo Martinez, Jordi Alba, Javi Martinez, Koke, Isco, Mata, Rodrigo, Adrian. Substitutes: Azpilicueta, Muniain, Botia, Romeu, Tello, Herrera, Marino.
Spain come into this tournament among the favourites and their side includes three players who lifted the European Championship with the senior side earlier this month in Javi Martinez, Jordi Alba and Juan Mata. But Japan must not be discounted and they have played some very exciting football in recent times. Team news on the way!
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary on the opening day of the men's football tournament at the Olympic Games! Today we have what is set to be a fascinating clash between Spain and Japan at Hampden Park in Glasgow. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through the action in this Group D match.
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