Guam's U19 Men's National Soccer Team on Wednesday lost its AFC U19 Championship Qualifier Group J opening day match to Japan, 10-0.
Japan, expected to qualify for the FIFA U20 World Cup for a third straight time, outclassed Guam in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, stated a news release.
A shift in mindset toward proper elite football player development and increased collaborative support through Guam’s developmental phase are key ingredients to future success against higher-ranked opponents, with longer histories, stated the release.
“The biggest difference was the gulf in standards between the two teams,” said Karl Dodd, the Guam U19 National Team head coach. “From a technical, intensity, and mental point of view, (Japan was) so much more superior over the course of 90 minutes.
“There were moments where we were able to match them, but nowhere as consistently enough for us to seriously challenge for a win. Japan has been operating far longer than Guam, and is one of the leaders in Asia – if not the world – in their player development programs.”
Guam limited Japan to three goals in the first half but failed to take advantage of opportunities.
Soromon Sakuragawa and Hidetoshi Takeda each finished with hat tricks, and teammate Shun Ayukawa scored twice. Hijiri Kato and Misaki Haruyama scored Japan’s other goals.
“The belief, or mentality, is a key area for development,” Dodd said. “I don’t think we back ourselves enough to match it or compete for every moment in the match.
“This stems from a severe lack of exposure to high-level football ... due to finances. … Facilities are also an issue. And Guam Football Association is looking to rectify this with new facilities.”
Guam, with the toughest match out of the way, will be looking to improve in its upcoming matches.
On Sunday, Guam will play Mongolia at 7 p.m (Guam time).
Matches are livestreamed on Vietnam Football Federation’s official YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/VFFChannel.