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About kushiro

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  1. Hours after the game finished and no-one's mentioned it, so here goes: Shinji came on in the 81st minute of Japan's WCQ in UAE. Japan won 2-0 - massive result, especially with Australia dropping points against Iraq earlier. Shinji looked pretty sharp when he came on - within 30 seconds he'd had two trademark near-post headers from corners (both blocked), but then he had a good chance that he pulled wide. So he's still one short of getting his name on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_men's_association_football_players_with_50_or_more_international_goals
  2. For the cup games, I was going on whether or not the team played their strongest team. In the domestic cups, we didn't, whereas Spurs did in the Europa League. For the sendings off - I'm happy to follow Claudio's precedent. 'You fight so well! Arsenal only beat you in last minute! I still give you one week holiday!"
  3. Not pedantic at all - thanks for pointing it out (they look so similar, don't they). And to Aus Fox for the point about the Hull game. I spotted another correction - Tottenham's run is not nine, but only three games (I'd overlooked the Europa League), so here's the corrected stat overall: Chelsea 3 games Spurs 3 games Man City 4 games Man U 2 games Liverpool 0 games Arsenal 5 games Leicester 23 games Don't go and blow it against Stoke (or Sunderland, or Everton, or Atletico, or Palace, or Bayern Munich...
  4. Don't let Leicester score the first goal. Never, ever let Leicester score the first goal. Because if you do, you know what will happen. How good are we when we score first? Let's have a look. I'm talking about our first team here, so I'm ignoring FA Cup and League Cup games. And I'm talking about our first XI, so I'm going to ignore games in which an intervention by the ref (Martin Atkinson - Simpson red card at Arsenal, and Jon Moss - Vardy red card v West Ham) let our opponents back in the game. What I'm interested in is how often we win a game when we score first. The answer is, basically, every f***ing time. Since January 2016, we have taken the lead in the following 24 games. And in each of those 24 games, well, you know what happened. Defeats: zero. Draws: zero. Victories: all of them. Every single one. Here they are: Stoke (H) 3-0 Liverpool (H) 2-0 Man City (A) 3-1 Norwich (H) 1-0 Watford (A) 1-0 Newcastle (H) 1-0 Palace (A) 1-0 Southampton (H) 1-0 Sunderland (A) 2-0 Swansea (H) 4-0 Everton (H) 3-1 Continuing into this season: Swansea (H) 2-1 Bruges (A) 3-0 Burnley (H) 3-0 Porto (H) 1-0 Palace (H) 3-1 Copenhagen (H) 1-0 Bruges (H) 2-1 Man City (H) 4-2 West Ham (H) 1-0 Liverpool (H) 3-1 Hull (H) 3-1 Sevilla (H) 2-0 West Ham (H) 3-2 But, you might say, surely teams usually win when they score first? Well, apparently it's between 70% and 80% of the time. But, you might say, surely the top teams almost always win when they score first? Well, we are on a run of 24 games. What about the Premier League top six? Here's their current run: Chelsea: 3 games Spurs: 9 games (since Musa equalised at WHL!) Man City: 4 games Man U: 2 games Liverpool: 0 games Arsenal: 5 games And Leicester, just to repeat, 24 games. (Even if you include the games where we've had a man sent off, our run is still 15 games), Forgive me for getting all Daily Mail headline about this, but if a team allows us to score first, we are ABSOLUTELY UNSTOPPABLE. Sure, we can all think of heart stopping moments where we've ridden our luck during the closing stages of those games (I think i'm STILL recovering from Delaney's shot at Selhurst Park), but it can't be just luck for it to last so long. There's a few more things to pick out from that list of 24 games You might notice that it contains relatively few league games from the first part of this season. Before the Liverpool game (Shakespeare's first in charge), we had only taken the lead in five out of 25 league games this season. A truly dismal record. But still, in each of those five games, we took all three points. So how can you explain all this? Something that has been largely dormant through the first half of this season becuase the players felt in some way restricted has now fully resurfaced. It was not completely dormant - when we did take a lead we could still hold it in the same way - especially in Champions League games, but that vital 'straight at the throat' attitude wasn't there to the same extent, and too often we let other teams take the initiative. But now it's back. The defining moment of Shakespeare's four games in charge was surely Vardy's 'reducer' on Emre Can just 10 seconds into the Liverpool game. We take control of the game, take the lead, and refuse to give it back. Who knows how far this extraordinary run can continue?
  5. From The Japan Times: Resurgent Okazaki aiming to take club form into World Cup qualifiers by Gus Fielding Mar 20, 2017 AL, AIN UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki is hoping to carry his recent club form onto the international stage when Japan takes on the United Arab Emirates in Thursday’s final-round World Cup qualifier in Al Ain. Okazaki is back in favor at the Foxes and his typically energetic performances have helped them turn a corner since the sacking of Italian coach Claudio Ranieri. Okazaki has started Leicester’s last five games in all competitions, four of them wins, including a 2-1 defeat of Sevilla that secured the Premier League title holders a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. “The turning point (at Leicester) came two or three weeks ago. The team started playing a more aggressive style from the front and that is why I fitted back into the team,” Okazaki told reporters after Japan trained for the first time on Sunday after arriving in the United Arab Emirates. “Physically and mentally, I am confident I can take my form onto the world stage. As a forward, I am not scoring goals but I feel I know what I have to do to help the team win.” Okazaki is among a number of veterans in the current national team that no longer command a regular place in the starting lineup. But Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic emphasized the importance of experience when he named his squad for the qualifiers against United Arab Emirates and the March 28 game against Thailand, sticking with out-of-favor AC Milan attacker Keisuke Honda and also recalling Gamba Osaka utility man Yasuyuki Konno. Although the goals have dried up for both club and country — he is still one short of the 50-goal milestone for the national team, having not scored since a 7-2 win over Bulgaria last June — Okazaki believes he still has a contribution to make. “What this team needs is goals and it is what I also need to add to my game for my own future and to help Japan qualify for the World Cup,” said Okazaki. “I say the same thing every time, but I am proud to be selected for the national team and I keep getting called up because of what I have achieved with my club. “We need to have cool heads when we are playing away from home and need to have players that will stand up and fight. That is where experience really counts.” Japan suffered a controversial 2-1 defeat to United Arab Emirates in its opening match in the final round of qualifiers in September last year when Takuma Asano had a legitimate goal that would have leveled the match 2-2 ruled out. Japan reach the halfway stage of the final round of qualifiers level on 10 points with Group B leader Saudi Arabia. Third-place Australia and the fourth-place UAE both have nine points, with Iraq on three and bottom side Thailand on one. “We made life difficult for ourselves by losing the first game against UAE but came back from that and we are sort of back at the starting point again,” said Okazaki. “So are we going to make it a successful story or are we going to repeat the same thing? It is really up to us. “Thailand have showed how well they can play by drawing with Australia and we can’t let up in either of these two upcoming games.”
  6. Yep. Here's a reminder: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-3787806/Europe-s-elite-shafting-poor-enjoy-Leicester-City-can.html
  7. Bloody tough one this. Has there been anyone since Craig Johnston (1984)? (Born in South Africa, raised in Aus, chose to represent England but never got a full cap).
  8. Some great lines in this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/14/jamie-vardy-doggedness-drives-leicester-past-sevilla
  9. Cheers for that. They're great, aren't they. Hadn't seen them before. Don't know if anyone has linked to this before but here they are: https://www.profitaccumulator.co.uk/news/football/the-best-programme-covers-in-football/
  10. The tears, plus saying this to Vardy: 'You, you're always talking. You're like ****ing radio. You, radio willy puller!
  11. Don't think this has been posted yet. We've become a bit blase about getting this kind of coverage, but it's still pretty amazing to get a huge feature like this in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/sports/soccer/leicester-city-premier-league.html?_r=0
  12. Kashima Antlers 3 Atletico Nacional 0 . Stunning. Best game I've seen this season by a long way. Japan has a team in the final for the first time, and 2016 has another crazy upset. They'll now play Real Madrid in the final on Sunday (barring an even bigger upset tomorrow in the other semi-final).
  13. This is the tournament we'll be in next year when we win the Champions League. It's taking place in Japan at the moment, and a truly amazing semi-final is on right now - if you can find a stream watch the second half. It's Kashima Antlers of Japan against Atletico Nacional of Colombia, the South American champions. I know this tournament gets little attention in the UK, but wow -that was an incredible first half. TV replays are in use for the first time in a FIFA event, and midway through the half, the ref was called to the touchline by officials watching on TV. He looked at a replay on a monitor and gave Kashima a penalty, which they scored to lead 1-0. Atletico have missed countless 'looked easier to score' moments, including hitting the woodwork twice. Yuki Abe could have been playing in this match had his side Urawa Reds not blown a two goal advantage in the J-League championship final last week. Next year's tournament will be in the United Arab Emirates, so once we've got past Sevilla we can start singing: Que sera, sera Whatever will be will be We're going to UAE Que sera sera
  14. Not unless Rui Pedro has changed his nationality in the last few days.