The Japan U-20 National Team suffered an upset 1-2 defeat against Israel in their final Group C match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2023 at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza, Argentina on Monday (June 28).
Japan took the lead through Isa Sakamoto’s celestial header in the final minute of the first half, but were unable to capitalize on their numerical advantage due to an Israeli sending-off and allowed a late equalizer, dropping them to third place and significantly hurting their chances of advancing to the Round of 16.
In their first outing, Israel secured second place with one win, one draw, and four points to advance to the Round of 16. They overcame the threat of elimination and proved that their European runner-up finish was no fluke.
Japan started with goalkeeper Ryoya Kimura, followed by Hayato Tanaka, Chase Anri, Niko Takahashi, Kata Takai, Riku Yamane, Kuryu Matsuki, Godai Sano, Kosuke Matsumura, Taisei Abe, and Sakamoto.
Japan pressured Israel early in the first half. In the eighth minute, Matsumura had a shot blocked and then immediately shot again, but was again denied by goalkeeper Tomer Charpati. In the eighth minute, Abe again had a great shot, but Charpathi made his third save of the game. In the 10th minute, Matsuki’s sharp left-footed shot went strongly over the side of the net.
Despite Japan’s lightning early offense, no goals were scored. Israel thickened their defense further and Japan failed to open up. Then, in the 37th minute, Eli Madmun’s threatening mid-range shot opened up the Israeli offense.
Japan panicked a bit, but began to look for space in the back of the net again as Israel raised their line. They were rewarded with a free kick in first-half stoppage time. Sakamoto finished off Matsuki’s pass with a header to give Japan a 1-0 lead at halftime.
At the start of the second half, Israel put the pressure on Japan. In the seventh minute of the second half, Kimura saved Ahmad Ibrahim’s shot off a kill pass from Stave Lemkin.
The momentum shifted in the 68th minute. Lan Binyamin, who came on as a substitute in the 61st minute, was sent off after receiving two cautions in three minutes, and the game became heated, with both Japan and Israel receiving cautions. 스포츠토토
Despite their numerical advantage, Japan could not find the center of the field. In the 76th minute, they conceded a free kick in a dangerous area, allowing Roy Nabi to head home the equalizer. The score was 1-1. In the second half of stoppage time, Israel’s defense collapsed on a fancy passing play, allowing Omer Senior to make it 1-2.
Japan pushed for a draw until the end, but ultimately collapsed and were eliminated from the group stage.