08 Aug 2014
Japan finishes European tour with friendlies against Hungary
The two nations added to their healthy rivalry that has recently been fueled by multiple tournaments and friendly matches against each other
Fresh off their second and third place finishes at the XIX Mundialito, Japan and Hungary took part in two International exhibition matches that were just as exciting as the final score indicates. In fact, the teams were so evenly matched that they split the series, each winning one thrilling match. Both games were decided by only one goal and the first one had to be decided in overtime. In the first match, Japan fought back to tie the game but eventually fell in extra time 4-3. The second match was similar but for the opposite team, as Hungary clawed their way back in the game only to come up just short, losing 5-4 to Japan, in regular time however.
The first game was thrilling as both teams went on the attack, and early. Japan opened the scoring with Akaguma in the first period. It was Akaguma’s first appearance with the Nippon and it did not take long for him to make an impact. Hungary came back in the second period scoring twice after a couple defensive mistakes from the Japanese defense. Japan was not deterred and managed to score the equalizer in the 3rd with only 9 seconds remaining. Hungary, disappointed to give up their late lead, did not dwell long on that fact and scored the only goal in the extra frame, and won 4-3.
Japan opened the second game with an offensive mindset but Hungary finished the first period stronger after scoring the frames’ only goal. The Japanese missed many chances in the opening period but they capitalized on their chances in middle period, netting four while only conceding one goal to Hungary. The final and decisive period was intense with many chances for both sides, but Hungary was determined to get back into the match and did so with two early goals, tying the game at 4. Ozu, the Japanese star, was determined to not watch his team fall again and scored the decisive goal late in the frame, giving his side the 5-4 win.
The Asian side gained much needed experience in the Mundialito and these friendlies, especially since they brought three players that had never played an international match. The two wins over Hungary, one in the Mundialito and one in the friendly, allowed Japan to leave Europe on a good note. Hungary played extremely well in the Mundialito and the two friendlies with Japan, which were the best preparation work they could do before the Euro Beach Soccer League Siófok 2014, that they host this weekend.