• Kyodo


Win or lose, Japan Under-23 coach Makoto Teguramori has warned his players not to let the outcome of Saturday’s friendly against Brazil affect them ahead of their opening match at the Rio Olympics.

Japan, surprise semifinalist at the 2012 London Games, take on the hosts, who are captained by Barcelona superstar Neymar, in Goiania in its final-warm up before facing Nigeria in its first Group B match in Manaus on Aug. 4.

“If we get beaten we can’t allow it to break our confidence but if we win we can’t let ourselves get carried away either. We have to be very careful about this,” Teguramori told a news conference on Friday.

“We are not a strong team. We have to hold aspirations of becoming stronger and head into the Olympic tournament with the hope that we can keep winning.”

He added: “If we get greedy, it will come at a cost. We need to be humble. But ideally we want to head into the tournament with confidence. I want to show we can win.”

Neymar carries Brazil’s hopes of winning an elusive Olympic gold medal and Teguramori is under no illusions of the task facing his side.

“Brazil are a magnificent team and will be putting out fantastic players,” he acknowledged. “We will be mixing it with players that have the quality to be with the leading clubs in the world.”

Brazil coach Rogerio Micale has entrusted Neymar with the captain’s armband, and he hailed the abilities of the 24-year-old forward at the news conference.

“The quality Neymar has shown surpasses my expectations,” Micale said. “His presence is priceless.”

Micale said he intends to put out his best players, including Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos, but hopefully give every member some playing time.

“This is our last game before the Olympics and it is a crucial match. I want to use all my players,” said Micale. “Japan are a good team and there is a possibility that we could face them in the knockout tournament.

“I have heard Japan’s preparations for the Olympics have been intense. Hopefully it will be a good game and we can both go into the main tournament in good shape.”


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