Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Mori Era


 

Japan's National Team: 1981-85

Much of the responsibility for taking Japan to the "next level" must be attributed to Kenji Mori, the former General Secretary of the JFA. Mori was the sort of leader and organizer that was needed to mold a group of increasingly talented youngsters into a coordinated football team. Mori took over as coach in mid 1981, and his initial results were not particularly encouraging. However, the coach was convinced that the key to building an effective national team lay not in recording wins against weak opponents, but facing off against top-quality opponents and learning what it meant to play at a higher level. During 1991 and 1992, the coach arranged a number of match-ups with top club teams in Europe and the Americas, losing nearly all of them, but forcing his players to learn to play tough football as a coordinated unit. By the end of 1982, it was clear that this phase of maturation was near completion, as the team managed victories against opponents like Iran, South Korea and Yemen.

When Japan returned to playing the teams that it traditionally faces in qualifying for the World Cup, it was clear that Mori's hard work had paid off. Japan began dispatching its weaker Asian opponents with ease, and turning in much better performances against tough rivals like South Korea. The national team clearly bore Mori's imprint, and fans began referring to the team as "Mori Japan". This became such a common term for Japan's national team that even after Mori departed, the custom would continue. Subsequent teams were always dubbed "Xxxx Japan" (as today's squad is most commonly referred to as "Osim Japan").

Unfortunately, Mori Japan faltered in the final stages of qualification for the 1986 World Cup, being knocked out after two bitterly contested losses to South Korea. As is so often the case with national team coaches, Mori was unable to survive the groundswell of disappointment, and he stepped down at the end of 1986.

Japan Nat'l Team 1981-85

Date Score Opponent Goals by . . .
May 1981 (Mori appointed)
81.5.31 (2-2) Everton (Kaneda, Hashiratani)
81.6.2 (0-0) China  
81.6.7 (0-2) Club Brugge  
81.6.13 (0-1) Saarbrucken  
81.6.15 (0-1) Racing de Cordoba  
81.6.21 (0-2) S.Korea  
81.9.16 (2-0) Indonesia (Matsuura, Ozaki)
81.9.18 (0-2) Iraq  
82.1.16 (1-1) Boca Juniors (Koshida)
82.1.20 (2-3) Boca Juniors (Kimura, Nomura)
82.1.24 (0-1) Boca Juniors  
82.3.21 (0-3) S.Korea  
82.5.30 (5-2) Feyernoord (Tsunami, Ozaki4)
82.6.2 (2-0) Singapore (Totsuka, Ozaki)
82.6.6 (1-2) Werder Bremen (Kimura)
82.7.15 (0-4) Romania  
82.7.18 (1-3) Romania  
82.11.3 (1-3) New York Cosmos (Hashiratani)
82.11.7 (1-3) New York Cosmos (Ozaki)
82.11.10 (0-1) New York Cosmos  
82.11.21 (1-0) Iran (Kimura)
82.11.23 (3-1) S.Yemen  
82.11.25 (2-1) S.Korea (Hara, Okada)
82.11.28 (0-1) Iraq  
83.3.7 (1-1) S.Korea (Tanaka)
83.5.29 (0-4) Newcastle Utd.  
83.6.2 (0-0) Yamaha  
83.6.5 (1-3) Botafogo (Hara)
83.6.7 (1-0) Syria (Kaneda)
83.8.25 (1-1) Russian Republic (Kimura)
83.9.4 (7-0) Philippines (Hara, Kimura2, Kato, Yokoyama, Tanaka)
83.9.7 (10-0) Philippines (own goal, Maeda, Kimura5, Hara, Yokoyama, Kaneda)
83.9.15 (2-0) Taiwan (Hara, Kimura)
83.9.20 (1-1) Taiwan (Maeda)
83.9.25 (1-3) New Zealand (Hara)
83.10.7 (0-1) New Zealand  
84.1.14 (2-1) Corinthians (Hara, Kimura)
84.1.16 (1-2) Corinthians (Hara)
84.1.22 (3-2) Corinthians (Kimura, Maeda, Hara)
84.3.6 (7-1) Brunei (?)
84.4.15 (2-5) Thailand (Hashiratani, Kimura)
84.4.18 (1-2) Malaysia (Hara)
84.4.21 (1-2) Iraq (Hara)
84.4.26 (1-4) Qatar (Hara)
84.5.27 (0-1) Toulouse  
84.5.31 (1-0) China (Kato)
84.9.30 (2-1) S.Korea (Kimura, Mizunuma)
85.1.12 (1-2) Bordeaux (Kimura)
85.1.15 (3-0) Bordeaux (Hara, Kimura2)
85.2.17 (0-0) Zurich  
85.2.23 (3-1) Singapore (Kimura, Hashiratani, Hara)
85.3.21 (1-0) N.Korea (Hara)
85.4.30 (0-0) N.Korea  
85.5.18 (5-0) Singapore (Mizunuma, Nishimura2, Hara, Kimura)
85.5.26 (1-4) Uruguay (Kimura)
85.5.28 (2-2) West Ham United (Hara, Mizunuma)
85.6.2 (1-4) Santos (Hara)
85.6.5 (3-0) Malaysia (Hashiratani, Mizunuma, Kimura)
85.8.11 (3-0) Hong Kong (Kimura, Mizunuma, Hara)
85.9.22 (2-1) Hong Kong (Kimura, Hara)
85.10.26 (1-2) S.Korea (Kimura)
85.11.3 (0-1) S.Korea  
85.11.11   (Mori resigns)