Japan show they have a bright future, despite Copa America elimination

Japan was eliminated from the Copa America, a tournament they were invited to participate in because the CONMEBOL Association only consists of 10 countries and to expand the tournament they need more teams. 

Japan sent a U23 side to participate, and no one expected them to win the shiny pot, but they've shown that the future of Japanese football looks very good. 

Japan's youngsters perform very well in Brazil

Personally, I feared the worst when I heard that Japan was sending their U23 side to the Copa America, which for anyone who doesn't know, is South America's biggest international tournament. So when I saw that Japan had been drawn with Chile (who won the last Copa America) Uruguay and Ecuador, I thought the chances of them doing well were pretty much zero.

If I hadn't had got up at the crack of dawn, to watch Chile vs Japan, and just saw the scoreline, then it's highly likely that I would have thought that Japan took a hammering after losing 4-0. That, however, couldn't be further from the truth, Japan played very well against a very experienced Chile side which is something I didn't expect. If they had have tucked away some of their chances they might have even give Chile a scare, but still, possibly have ended up losing the game.

To play so well against a Chile side with that much experience showed that these crop of Japanese youngsters have something special about them, Ayase Ueda had two excellent chances, and Kubo went on a brilliant run that defied his age, as he skinned the Chile defence, but dragged his shot just wide. These are just examples of how Chile didn't have it easy as the scoreline suggested.

Japan ends with two credible draws

Japan ended the competition with two good draws against Ecuador and Uruguay, which people would haven't have expected before the tournament began, myself included. All the sides Japan have faced in the Copa America have struggled with the attacking play that Japan has thrown at them, the likes of Kubo, and Nakajima has run rings around experienced defenders at times, and if they keep improving Japan will have some mega talents on their hands.

Unfortunately, Japan didn't scrape through as one of the best 3rd placed sides, but they gave a much better showing of themselves than I and no doubt many others expected. The other managers in the tournament who aren't happy that Japan sent a youth team, should be thankful they did, or Japan would have knocked them out of their own competition on this evidence, and they look like they're shaping up very well for the Tokyo Olympics.

This Japan side could go on to be a golden generation, which would be great for not just Japanese football, but for Asia in general.

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