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FIFA U17 World Cup: Japan's Sugawara Yukinari shares his views ahead of the Honduras tie

Japan's right-back says it's not practical to think about the World Cup final at the moment. The main focus is on the first game.


Sugawara Yukinari
Sugawara Yukinari in action

Sugawara Yukinari, the versatile and experienced right-back from Japan who plays for the Nagoya Grampus U18 team, has been with the national U17 team (then U14) from its inception in 2013. He spoke to reporters after the practice session the excerpts are as follows:

Q. What is your aim regarding the FIFA U17 World Cup? How far do you think your team will progress?

SY: My aim is to perform well and concentrate on every match. It is not practical to think about playing in the finals at the moment as losing games in the group stages will not help us play in the finals. We as a team are fully concentrating on our first game against Honduras.

Q. What do you think of your opponents in the group stages?

SY: They are all good, as the first match is approaching we are beginning to collect information about our opponents and wish to take it one game at a time, and not think too far ahead.

Q. What are your strengths as a player?

SY: My strength as a player has to be my versatility and as I am a utility player I can play multiple positions like right-back, left-back or in the wings. I can play in any position that the coach wants me to play in.

Q. Who do you think are the main star players of your team?

SY: We don’t believe in individual performance and focus on the team game so you can say ours is a collective effort.

Q. Who are your footballing Idols?

SY: My favourite players are the two Brazilian fullbacks. Dani Alves and Marcelo. I love their playing style and the way they move forward. I also like to venture forward and support my team in attack rather than just sitting back and defending. As for idols, I don’t believe in idol’s as I don’t want to follow any big names but rather I want to make a big name for myself.

Q. What is your dream?

SY: To play for the Japan Senior team.

Q. Will the AFC U16 Championship experience that was held in Goa help you during the World Cup?

SY: Not really as this is the World Cup and that was the AFC Championship. Past experience and results actually don’t matter during the World Cup as all the teams will start on equal footing, and it is a new city and place that we are playing in so the Goa experience won't matter much. Tackling the humidity is the only thing in which the Goa experience will come in handy.

Q. You Mentioned the humidity, so what do you think about the weather condition in India?

SY: It is very hot and humid, the humidity is the main factor at play here we should always be hydrated properly or problems like dehydration can occur, otherwise the temperature is not an issue because after sunset the temperature is quite low compared to the daytime. Our team Doctor, Trainer, Physio are really working very hard to ensure that we don’t face any problems and that we are in the best of shape, so we don’t have any problems regarding the weather. 

Q. What do you think about the Infrastructure present here in India?

SY: Very Good. We have a very nice hotel, the food in our hotel Taj Vivanta is very delicious, we have a good Transport Convoy, and nice pitches to practice in so everything here is very good.

Q. What do you think about group favourites France?

SY: They are a big team and a European powerhouse but as you know anything can happen in football so nothing can be predicted before the game is played. At the moment we as a team are only thinking about the Honduras game and will think about the France game after that.

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