RECIFE: Shinji Kagawa scored and hit the woodwork in an extraordinary Confederations Cup match with Italy, but all his efforts came to naught as Japan crashed out of the event.
“At 2-0 up we felt there were some chances for us but it was psychologically hard for us,” said Manchester United star Kagawa, after Japan had raced out of the blocks seeking a first win over the Azzurri before eventually losing 4-3.
“We had the late blow of their winner. But Italy seized the chances they had and that was the difference.
“For my goal I swivelled and hit it with my left foot. I was in the right place and I was in luck to score.”
But a later effort that he should have put away hit the woodwork and with Maya Yoshida having an effort ruled out at the death, it made for a painful exit which makes Japan’s remaining pool encounter with Mexico at the weekend academic.
“It just feels so much worse after we played in many ways such a good game.”
For 40 minutes the Asian champions had Italy on the rack but the Blue Samurai lacked a ruthless streak as they let slip a two-goal lead and saw their hopes of reaching the semi-finals evaporate.
Neymar punished us, says Mexico coach
Mexico coach Jose Manuel de la Torre rued poor finishing and the genius of Neymar after his side’s Confederations Cup ambitions were dashed by Brazil in Fortaleza.
Neymar scored one superb goal and made another in a 2-0 victory that sent the hosts into the semi-finals.
“We conceded a goal at the start, with a great effort from Neymar, which changed the circumstances,” said De la Torre.
“We had a certain amount of dominance for a large portion of the game but we lacked enough precision to score. And at the end, there was a great contribution from Neymar (setting up a goal for Jo), which made it 2-0.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.
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