The Italian coach says the Asian champions want to win their last game despite failing to make the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup and also talked about the political crisis
An opening 3-0 loss to Brazil was followed by a heartbreaking 4-3 defeat to Italy, in which they had taken a 2-0 lead. Those two results have rendered tomorrow’s game with Mexico a mere formality, with their opponents also already eliminated.
"We weren't able to win enough points to reach the semi-finals but we still care about this match,” Zaccheroni insisted.
“We played poorly in the opening match against Brazil but played very well against Italy. I want us to win against Mexico. We respect Mexico a lot [as] they're well above us in the Fifa rankings, they play good football, and they're very skilled technically.
“They're a team that can fundamentally control the match. They performed well against Italy and Brazil. Both Japan and Mexico have a great squad so I think it'll be a good match.”
Zaccheroni also admitted he didn’t expect the home crowd to back them against the Italians.
"I'm not sure why the Brazilians supported us against Italy but I'm very happy they did,” he said.
“Perhaps it's because we played very well. We played very determinedly and didn't make any passing mistakes till about the 70th minute. Brazilians like to watch teams that control the ball and pass the ball well, so maybe that's why they supported Japan.
"I was disappointed at the result [of the Italy match] because in the last few minutes we had a chance to score a fourth goal. Even though we were able to control one of the world's best teams for 70 minutes, the result still left a bad aftertaste."
The Italian also touched on the ongoing political crisis in Brazil, which he hopes will get better.
"We don't live here, so we don't understand the reality of the problem,” Zaccheroni said.
“Brazil's a very big country and we don't know whether the situation is different in each region. However, the entire Japan national team, myself included, are disappointed that such tension exists. This state of affairs has come because the people are unhappy with the status quo.
“That dissatisfaction happens in any society, but it's the responsibility of the decision-makers in power to resolve these issues and restore social equilibrium. The world has a good impression of Brazil, and I've seen the beauty of the country during this tournament. I do hope that the situation improves."