Shimpei Fukuoka and Takefusa Kubo both scored a brace in a dominant performance by Japan as it laid down a marker in its AFC U-16 Championship India 2016 Group B opener with a 7-0 thrashing of Vietnam on Friday at GMC Stadium.
Kubo opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a superb set-piece strike before Japan captain Fukuoka made it 2-0 within 30 minutes. Taisei Miyashiro then added the third with a left-footed rocket before halftime to leave Vietnam with a mountain to climb.
Fukuoka completed his brace in the 50th minute, Kubo added another and provided the assist for Takumu Kemmotsu’s goal before Hirota Yamada made the final score 7-0 as Japan lept to the top of the Group B ahead of Kyrgyzstan who earlier handed Australia a shock 1-0 defeat.
Two-times champion Japan started brightly and Keito Nakamura had the first chance to open the scoring in the 11th minute but drilled his low shot narrowly wide of Nguyen Nhat Truong’s right-hand post.
Kubo has made recent headlines in Japan after being cleared to play for FC Tokyo’s top-flight team, which could make him the youngest ever to appear in the J-League’s first division, and the former Barcelona prodigy gave testament to his talent with a sublimely struck curling free-kick from outside the box.
Japan did not have to wait long for a second either, as Fukuoka doubled the advantage on 24 minutes as he rolled the ball past Nhat Truong.
And with five minutes of the first half remaining, Japan had its third goal.
Miyashiro received the ball from Yukinari Sugawara’s throw-in, turned his marker and from the edge of the box unleashed a left-footed strike into the top corner of the goal that left Nhat Truong no chance.
Yoshiro Moriyama’s side needed just a minute of the second half to carve open the Vietnam defence again as Fukuoka went through on goal, only to be denied by Nhat Truong’s outstretched leg.
But the Japanese skipper didn’t have to wait long for his second as Nhat Truong’s punch from a corner lacked distance and Fukuoka towered above the Vietnam defenders to head home powerfully from the penalty spot for his side’s fourth of the night.
With Japan running rampant, it was no surprise when it netted again on 64 minutes.
After a penetrative run into the left-hand side of the area, Kubo deceived goalkeeper and defenders alike as he drilled home from an acute angle.
Substitute Kemmotsu nodded home Yubo’s free-kick with 11 minutes remaining before forward Yamada’s 85th minute strike from inside the penalty area made the final score 7-0 as Japan issued a stark early warning to the rest of the competition.
Japan coach Yoshiro Moriyama:
I wasn't expecting the game to be this wide open but all our players played well. The medical team and conditioning coach and all the staff have been putting in hard work, so the players have adjusted very well to this environment — having all the players in good condition and being able to adapt well is, I think, the main reason for this result.
The first goal was really important for the game, Kubo scored two goals, Fukuoka also scored two goals and they both had great games. Yamada struggled in the beginning but he scored at the end, just like we wanted. All the goals were really nice ones and everyone played a good game today. Kubo came off with an injury at the end but i think he's going to be OK.
Vietnam coach Dinh The Nam:
I would like to say congratulations to Japan. We endured a very difficult game today because Japan were so strong and such difficult opponents. Their players had much better qualities than us in terms of physique and skill. They were taller, faster and had much better technique than us.
It's the first game of the tournament for us, so with each goal Japan scored it's true my players lost confidence and to lose so heavily in the end is a bit of a blow to our morale. We will have to raise ourselves for the next game against Australia.
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