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Olympic Football Roster Announced

2 July 2012 by

Kenyu Sugimoto was a surprise inclusion

The Japan Olympic football squad was announced today, and there were some surprise inclusions/exclusions. Here’s the squad:

Keeper: Shuichi Gonda, Shunsuke Ando

Def: Yuhei Tokunaga (overage), Maya Yoshida (overage), Daisuke Suzuki, Hiroki Sakai, Gotoku Sakai

Mid: Hiroshi Kiyotake, Taisuke Muramatsu, Keigo Higashi, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Takahiro Ogihara, Takashi Usami

Fwd: Kensuke Nagai, Yuki Otsu, Manabu Saito, Kenyu Sugimoto

Injury standby: Akihiro Hayashi (keeper-overage), Kazuki Oiwa (def), Takuji Yonemoto (mid), Ryohei Yamazaki (fwd)

The notable omission has to be Ryo Miyaichi. The most likely explanation is that Arsenal were not going to release him for the Olympics. However, the fact that they posted a note on their website about his inclusion in the preliminary squad, and the rumors swirling about his imminent loan move to Southampton, indicate that a) they were at least entertaining the idea of letting him go, and b) since he is moving on loan, his participation in the Olympics didn’t matter to them at all. So, if Arsenal were in fact okay with him being in the squad, then this is a ridiculous omission. Firstly, he played regularly for Bolton last season, in the most competitive league in the world. While he didn’t start every match, he came off the bench in the ones he didn’t, and at least got playing time in most of Bolton’s matches. This is more than some of the players chosen above him can say, playing in the J. League. Secondly, he is one of the most talented players that Japan have. The Olympics are the time to test out your talents, so take your most talented players.

Another omission is Yoshiaki Takagi who should’ve been at least a reserve. He started playing regularly for Utrecht at the end of last season, which should be enough to warrant a spot on the Olympic team. Yuya Osako, Mizuki Hamada, and Hiroshi Ibusuki were also omitted. Osako has been playing well for a an underachieving Kashima Antlers side this season. Hamada is an exciting central defender, but the JFA opted for overage players in that position. Ibusuki should’ve also been at least a reserve–he could’ve provided a plan b in the Andy Carroll mold.

The biggest surprise inclusion is Kenyu Sugimoto, who has four goals this season for Tokyo Verdy…in J.2. At 6 foot 2, he does provide that plan b, but clearly Ibusuki, with 20 goals in the Spanish third division, should get in ahead of him.

I will post about the potential starting xi in the future, but for now, what do you think?

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