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Computer software opens up new worlds. Article that appeared in the October 1995 issue of FIFA Magazine.

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Malaysia 97 Final:
Uruguay v Argentina

South America's First U-17 Title:
Brazil v Ghana

1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifying:
Italy v England

1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final:
USA v Mexico

World Cup 98 Qualifications:
Japan v Iran
Coaches Corner - Revolutionising the way you see the game

World Cup 98 Qualifications

Japan vs. Iran


Discover the world of computerised match analysis software and learn all about the performances and styles of teams and players. The match analysis software can provide a concise, unbiased evaluation of team players and opponents during the game played. This game analysis provides a deeper understanding and a unique view beyond what can be seen either in person at the game or viewed on video afterwards. For example, it sometimes happens that the unobtrusive player proves to be the most productive performer on the team. Often mistaken for a plodder, this is the player who drags their side back from the brink of defeat in the nick of time. Now, this match analysis software gives this player the recognition he deserves.

With 32 countries competing in France, fans around the world will have the chance to see teams that are not often on the World stage. And as in every World Cup unlikely heroes will have their moments in the spotlight.

World Cup 98 Qualifications
Japan's Goal - Trace Back
Japan's Goal - Trace Back

Click on the image above to enlarge

Okano #14 was the player who scored the wining goal when he latched onto a shot deflected by the Iran goalkeeper Ahmadreza #1 to score the decider. The play which resulted in the winning goal started with Hidetoshi #8 who intercepted the ball from Iran's player Estili #9. Hidetoshi #8 then dribbled the ball up to the penalty area and took a shot. The shot on Goal was deflected by Iran's Goalie but ultimately the goal was scored by Okano #14.

One team that will attract attention is Japan, which of course is a co-host with Korea of the next world cup finals. Japan with their thrilling "Golden Goal" win over Iran in the playoff game for second place in Asia's Group B, made it into the 1998 finals for the first time in their history.

Japan is drawn with Argentina, Croatia and Jamaica in Group H in France and the coaches of those teams must be wondering what they can expect from the squad coached by Takeshi Okada, who took over last October and guided the team into the finals.

To furnish a few clues as to what those coaches might expect SoftSport's Second Look match analysis software was applied to dissect the tactics used by Japan in the all important playoff game that resulted in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Iran.

Analysis of the Match

  • Japan's System of Play / Shots on Goal
  • The one-two Mid field punch of Hidetoshi & Hiroshi
  • Conclusion

    Japan's System of Play / Shots On Goal

    Firstly Japan employed an interesting system of play in the game. Only two players remained at the center of the defense almost the whole game. The two wing fullbacks were used to spread the attack and covered ground from their own defensive third up to the Iran penalty area.

    Japan packed the middle of the field with three players who operated around the center circle and the team used three forward in this do-or-die game.

    Okada used three substitutes during the game and all three played up front. He will probably claim that the substitution he made to bring on Masayuki Okano #14 in the extra time was his shrewdest.

    System of Play
    Shots On Goal

    Click on the images above to enlarge

    The One-Two Mid Field Punch of Hidetoshi & Hiroshi

    Observing The GOLDEN GOAL ,the player whose shot on Goal was ultimately saved by Iran goalkeeper was mid fielder Nakata Hidetoshi #8. Hidetoshi with his colleague Nami Hiroshi #10 were undoubtedly the most impact players on the Japanese team. This one-two mid field punch could be the combination that could help Japan squeak into round two in France. Hidetoshi #8 in particular had an impressionable game against Iran as you can see by The player performance charts.

    Nakata Hidetoshi #8
    Performance Summary
    Nami Hiroshi #10
    Performance Summary

    Click on the images above to enlarge

    Hidetoshi #8 had a total of 18 impact passes which led to shots on Goal along with a total of 6 direct shots on goal. He not only set up the winning Goal but made 112 passes total with a 68% completion rate, fully more than anyone else ! Note that Hidetoshi was involved in two of the three goals.

    Japan also benefited from a workmanlike performance from Hiroshi #10. He completed fully 72 of his 88 passes during the game . The charts point out that Hiroshi was the next best productive Japanese player with a total of 12 impact passes which led to shots on Goal and 8 direct shots on goal.

    Completed/Lost Passes
    Completion Rate
    Player Ranking

    Click on the images above to enlarge

    The above charts include a Japan Player Ranking chart which provides a ranking of all the Japan players (by thier performances) in desending order. This chart provides all statistics on each individual player including shots, goals, passes, impact passes, etc. Impact passes are passes which led to shots on goal or passes which led to the goals themselves..


    So in summary what can we expect from Japan in France? The team scored 10 goals in its last three games to qualify so it might be fair to conclude that the team will continue to be offensive minded.

    One question though, is it easier to think "offense" against a team such as Iran than it is against a world power such as Argentina? Part of the joy of soccer is that these psychological elements come into play... especially when the whole world is watching.

    Your regarding Coaches Corner are welcome.

    A P P E N D I X

    Figure 1
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    Japan's Goal - Trace Back

    This chart shows the sequence of passes which led to the score of the GOLDEN GOAL.

    Figure 2
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    Japan's System of Play

    This chart shows Japan's system of play.
    Each blue dot represents each time the individual Japan player touched the ball on the field during the entire game (ie Player Range).The blue oval shows in clearity the area the player concentrated his play.

    Figure 3
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    Japan's Shots on goal

    Figure 4
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    Hidetoshi # 8 Player Performance

    Figure 5
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    Hiroshi #10 Player Performance

    Figure 6
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    Completed/Lost passes-Completion rate

    Figure 7
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    Japan Player Ranking

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