Five former Gothia Cup players won silver medals with Japan in the U-20 World Cup
Japan did really well in the U-20 World Cup, with help from five players who once played in the Gothia Cup.
Japan reached the final in the U-20 World Cup in Costa Rica. No less than five former Gothia Cup players were part of the great team.
The Japanese U-20 national team was a close runner-up in the final against Spain in the end of August. Nina Noda, Kokona Iwasaki, Aemu Oyama, Yuzuki Yamamoto and Maya Hijikata all took part in the U-20 World Cup.
– We were really proud of the result they showed, says Shigeno Kozaburo, who works with young players for the Japanese top division.
What the five players have in common? They’ve all played in the Gothia Cup for Tokyo Verdy.
– The Gothia Cup is a very valuable opportunity to get to know the world, says Shigeno Kozaburo.
Aemu Oyama had a great time at the U-20 World Cup.
– I was in the Asian Championship, but I was very happy to be able to participate in the World Cup for the first time as a representative of Japan. It was a lot of fun to be able to play against the world's top players until the final, and to be able to play in front of about 30 000 spectators, and it was a really good experience, says Aemu Oyama.
She also loved to play in the Gothia Cup.
– The best memory of the Gothia Cup is the triumphant parade after winning the final! The Gothia Cup was the first time that I played against non-Asian players since I started playing fotboll, says the midfielder.
Aemu has big goals for the future.
– I want to play in Europe and qualify for the Champions League, she says.
Her team-mate Yuzuki Yamamoto scored three goals in the U20 tournament.
– I had such a good time. I could play in front of many spectators and was so happy, says the striker.
She has nice memories from Gothenburg.
– My best memory is having been able to win the championship and gone around the town on a bus, says the 20-year-old.
Yuzuki has one dream in the coming years:
– To win the championship in the WE League, the professional league in Japan.
Shigeno Kozaburo has travelled with several Tokyo Verdy teams to the Gothia Cup during the last ten years and they always loved to stay at the school Nordhemsskolan. Now he hopes that Japanese teams once again can come to Gothenburg next summer.
– Japan is returning to normal life. Next year, we would like to introduce excellent Japanese teams in the Gothia Cup again, says Shigeno Kozaburo.