It was a quiet day in Japan Camp, so silent that a guard and his pet cat napping under the shining sun of Doha. In the media center, journalists waited for nearly one hour until training finished and the players came to answer questions before the match against Costa Rica.
Shuichi Gonda was the first one who showed up and after minutes, others came in. Captain Maya Yoshida has more English language skills so I asked my question from him.
At first I asked him about the “continental effect” , how a good performance of an Asian side could encourage other teams to shine.
“In terms of Saudi Arabia, Yes!” Yoshida said. “When they performed on the day before our game, we were surprised by them. Because we know how good Saudi Arabia is and they showed a great performance so they gave us a good coach.”
I read Maya Yoshida’s autobiography recently and in it he speaks about “whistle in the Middle east”. He believes middle-eastern players constantly against the referees’ decisions, in contrast to Japanese players who accept the Referees more.
He admitted that Japanese players need to consider pressuring the referee not as poor conduct so I asked him if we will see more protest from Japanese players during matches.
“This is the World cup and we shouldn’t stop until the final whistle. We can’t have a soft Judge, especially for offside or fouls. It’s important to continue the play. It’s important to have good communication with the referee. The referee of the next match is from the Premier League and I have played with him several times and I hope to have good communication with him.