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Tokunaga relieved after Japan progression

30 July 2012 08:13

Japan defender Yukei Tokunaga was thrilled after their 1-0 victory over Morocco at the Olympic Games at St James Park, Newcastle.

The 28-year-old FC Tokyo stopper, who also represented Japan in the 2004 Athens Games, was chosen along with Maya Yoshida as one of the team's two over-age selections. The two veterans kept Japan's back line steady against a Morocco squad that was far more up to the task than Spain just three days earlier.

And Tokunaga said sewing up progression to the knockout stage came as relief for the Japanese squad.

"It's a relief to escape the group stage with one match remaining," Tokunaga said.

"We held together and defended, and to take three points from a match like this shows how we've grown.

"Now that we've accomplished one goal, we want to play for a medal."

Yoshida, also playing in his second Games following Beijing 2008, said Japan did themselves a disservice by wasting opportunities on goal.

"Things would have been a lot easier if we'd converted the chances we had," the VVV defender told reporters.

"I'm disappointed we couldn't convert our set pieces in either half.

"We were still fatigued from the Spain match, but we didn't give up a goal in the first half and were able to find our momentum in the second."

Japan national manager Alberto Zaccheroni, who watched from the stands, heaped praise on Takashi Sekizuka's side after their impressive performance.

"It was a fantastic result," Zaccheroni said.

"I thought it would be a tough group, so the accomplishment is twice as impressive. Everyone's worked hard."

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Info

Competition
Olympics
Date
29 July 2012
Game week
2
Kick-off
18:00
Half-time
0 - 0
Full-time
1 - 0
Venue
St. James' Park (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
Attendance
24936

Goals

K. Nagai 84'
(assist by H. Kiyotake) 
1 - 0

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
15
9
4
6
8
14
18
# Player Bookings
6
12
17
5
13
15
18

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