Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Falcao's Follies

Japan's National Team: 1994

Paulo Roberto Falcao, the Brazilian midfielder who made a name at Sporting Club Internationale and Roma, had already done a fair amount of coaching before Japan tipped him to replace Ooft. However, while Ooft's success showed what a capable foreign coach can do to raise the level of a developing team, Falcao provided the counterexample, showing why sometimes it is best to look for home-grown talent in a national team coach.

Falcao lasted less than a year in the head coach position, and his reign at the helm of the Japan National Team is surely something that everyone involved in the situation, including himself, would like to forget.

Certainly, Falcao cannot bear all of the blame for the poor results that Japan recorded during his tenure. He had to deal with the same troublesome egos that Ooft confronted, as well as a great deal of meddling from individuals in the JFA. However, Falcao's problems were almost constant.

Japan Nat'l Team 1986-92

Date Score Opponent Goals by . . .
93.12.10. (Falcao appointed)
94.5.22 (1-1) Australia (Asano)
94.5.29 (1-4) France (Ogura)
94.7.8 (3-2) Ghana (Kazu 2, Natsuka)
94.7.14 (2-1) Ghana (Iwamoto, Kazu)
94.9.27 (0-0) Australia  
94.10.3 (1-1) UAE (Kazu)
94.10.5 (1-1) Qatar (Takagi)
94.10.9 (5-0) Myanmar (Hashiratani, Takagai,
Iwamoto, Kitazawa, Sawanobori)
94.10.11 (2-3) S.Korea (Kazu, Ihara)
94.10.21. (Falcao fired.)

It seemed that Falcao was always in the middle of a spat with someone, whether it be a player, an assistant coach, members of the media or JFA officials. Above all, the attitude that he exuded -- expecting all of Japan to adapt to his attitudes and idiosyncrasies while making no effort to understand the culture of his new host country -- left him with virtually no supporters in any segment of the media, the football bureaucracy or the fan base.

On the field, his fortunes were no better. Apart from two wins against Ghana in mid-summer, the team's record was terrible. Perhaps if he had beern given a bit more time, he could have contributed something useful to the team. Clearly there were a lot of things about the Japan team of this era which needed a strong hand to fix them. His successor would end up falling victim to some of the same froblems Falcao was doing his best to eliminate - most of all, the way that veteran players lorded it over youngsters, even though the new generation was clearly more talented. When Falcao was fired at the close of 1994, the JFA turned to a domestic coach to try to rescue the national team from its slump.

Japan National Team Members Under Falcao

Name Position Team Height Caps/Goals
Kazuya MAEKAWA GK Sanfrecce Hiroshima 188 2/0
Kenji HONAMI GK Gamba Osaka 186 3/0
Shinkichi KIKUCHI GK Verdy Kawasaki 181 5/0
Kenichi SHIMOKAWA GK JEF United Ichihara 187 0
Masami IHARA DF Yokohama Marinos 182 9/1
Yosihihiro NATSUKA DF Bellmare Hiratsuka 182 9/1
Yutaka AKITA DF Kashima Antlers 179 0
Koji KONDO DF Gamba Osaka 176 2/0
Yoshiro MORIYAMA DF Sanfrecce Hiroshima 175 7/0
Akira NARAHASHI DF Bellmare Hiratsuka 170 1/0
Masahiro ENDO DF Jubilo Iwata 179 8/0
Naoto OTAKE DF Yokohama Flugels 178 1/0
Teruo IWAMOTO DF/MF Bellmare Hiratsuka 178 9/2
Tetsuji HASHIRATANI MF Verdy Kawasaki 181 9/1
Tetsuya ASANO MF Urawa Reds 184 3/1
Hajime MORIYASU MF Sanfrecce Hiroshima 173 3/0
Tsuyoshi KITAZAWA MF Verdy Kawasaki 170 7/0
Masakiyo MAEZONO MF Yokohama Flugels 170 6/0
Masaaki SAWANOBORI MF Shimizu S-Pulse 170 6/1
Takahiro YAMADA MF Yokohama Marinos 174 1/0
Hiromitsu ISOGAI MF Gamba Osaka 177 0
Hisashi KUROSAKI MF Kashima Antlers 185 1/0
Kazuyoshi MIURA FW Verdy Kawasaki/Genoa 175 8/4
Nobuhiro TAKEDA FW Verdy Kawasaki 177 2/0
Kenta HASEGAWA FW Shimizu S-Pulse 177 2/0
Takuya TAKAGI FW Sanfrecce Hiroshima 188 5/2
Toshihiro YAMAGUCHI FW Gamba Osaka 176 2/0
Takafumi OGURA FW Nagoya Grampus 181 5/1
Shoji JO FW JEF United Ichihara 178 0
Yoshiaki SATO FW Urawa Reds 188 1/0

"0" Indicates that the player was named to the team in this year,but did not appear in any international A matches.