Japan – Match Report vs Colombia (28/03/2023)

A very interesting encounter between two teams under completely different circumstances. Japan’s first fixtures since their mesmeric World Cup, and Colombia looking to rebuild from their failures to qualify for the World Cup. Japan looked to control the possession by deploying a fluid 4-4-2, where they would look to draw the Colombian press in and wanted to create wide overloads and positional superiorities centrally. Colombia dominated Japan physically, deploying a structured 4-3-3 variation. The match ended 2-1 for Colombia, thanks to Borre’s acrobatic winner.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Kashif Bangnagande

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 24/09/2001
  • Current club: FC Tokyo
  • Career: FC Tokyo (Y), FC Tokyo
  • Position: Left-Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Kashif Bangnagande had an impressive debut for Japan (never previously playing internationally for Japan across any age group) playing 58’ minutes as a left-back. Kashif played an important role offensively and defensively against highly rated players from the opposition, specifically John Duran. He has proved that he is capable to be challenging Hiroki Ito for the starting role. 

Kashif stands at roughly 1,74 m, and has a mesomorph body type. He’s more than capable of holding his own in duels and displaying good strength, additionally, Kashif did not shy away and is very aggressive with his opponent looking to close them down ASAP. Furthermore, he has great acceleration over the first few meters, and a good full speed, combined with his ability to slide tackle, which helped him make successful ball recoveries. Whilst eager to compete aerially, he was beaten consistently due to his height. 

Kashif makes his defensive decisions quickly, he doesn’t ponder, whether he steps up aggressively or to quickly press the wide man. Furthermore, he was confident in tracking his runners whilst defending crosses, by ensuring he was the first to react or was in front of them positioning his body well.

Despite it being his first appearance, he was very comfortable adapting to the system. Kashif was fundamental in creating space for Mitoma, by always looking to create the overlapping runs and providing the width. Kashif understood the space around him well, and as well as making overlapping runs he would sometimes pick an advanced inverted position’s displaying a good tactical understanding. 

With the ball at his feet, he looked to play short simple passes, not many line-breaking, but simple. He combined very well with Mitoma, where he would find himself in crossing positions at times, taking one touch and crossing. At times he probably should have looked to beat the man to cross the ball by the byline, increasing the chances of a better delivery. In continuation, Kashif also took inswinging corners that were delivered towards the first post and resulted in a good attempt at goal. 

Ranking – A2

Kashif is an exciting full-back that does the simple things well with the ball, possesses excellent pace and is defensively strong. I would like to see him take on the opposition more, penetrating the space with his pace and looking to cross the ball more. 

While Kashif needs to continue to develop he has the skill set to take a giant leap in his career. Kashif Bangnagande’s contract is set to expire on 31/01/24, there’s the opportunity to get him for a reduced fee this summer, or a free in January. I would thoroughly expect teams in Ligue 1, Belgian Pro League & the Eredivisie to be monitoring him.


Yukinari Sugawara

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 28/06/2000
  • Current club: AZ Alkmaar
  • Career: Nagoya Grampus (Y), Nagoya Grampus, AZ Alkmaar
  • Position: Right-Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Sugawara played the full 90 minutes as a right-back in the 2-1 defeat. Sugawara was absent from the World Cup squad, however, with his current club form this season he has very much earnt his starting role for his country. Sugawara is very good tactically and has a clear understanding of what his international manager, Hajime Moriyasu, wants from him. 

Sugawara is 1,79 m and has a relative body build. He showed real quality defending in 1v1 duels, specifically in narrow spaces; he also uses his body well to negate the opposition. While only being 1,79 m he was strong in the air, winning all his aerial duels – at times he competed against Borre. While defending in his penalty box, he showed good composure picking the right moments to intervene with the attacker. While defending at times Sugawara can be positioned too narrow where the opposition’s wide player has far too much space. Sugawara’s stamina is fantastic, he’s able to run up & down throughout the full 90 minutes. 

Sugawara’s role in the game developed, highlighting his tactical understanding. During the first half, he’d look to create a back 3 during the first phase; as the ball progressed he would pick up an advanced inverted role – he was really comfortable operating in the half spaces looking to play key passes breaking through the lines of the opposition. During the 2nd half, he was more advanced on the wings, whilst remaining fluid in positions in the advanced areas, combining with the other wide players.

When given the opportunity Sugawara looked to penetrate the space by dribbling and creating the passing option. He’s very composed with the ball in tight situations, where he would look for a 1-2 pass or recycle the ball. However, at times there was a hint of lapse of judgement where he would miss control the ball. 

Ranking – A1

While this was not his best performance, Sugawara showed great foundations of his playing ability. I’m sure the top 5 leagues will be monitoring him closely, or the top Eredivisie and Liga Portugal clubs. As displayed he’s very adjustable to systems and suits many different styles of football. Additionally, he possesses great ability on the ball and solid defensive strengths.


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