With Brazil and Spain set to square off on Sunday night in the Confederations Cup final, the latest edition of “Where Are They Now?” looks at the final of twelve years ago to see what became of each team. First up, defeated finalists and co-hosts Japan…
1. Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Goalkeeper)
Kawaguchi was the undoubted number one for Japan having played at the 1996 Olympics and 1998 World Cup. He was already an experienced international by the time of the final with over 40 caps to his name.Left his club Yokohama Marinos after the tournament for the English First Division and Portsmouth who payed a club record £1.8 million for him. Kawaguchi struggled with the physicality of English football and only played 13 games in two seasons however he was loved by the fans for his positive outlook and hard work to regain his starting place. He left in 2003 for Danish side FC Nordsjaelland but only played 10 times for them before he returned to Japan with Jubilo Iwata who he still he plays for. He was an international regular following the 2001 Confederations Cup and now has 116 caps with the last of those coming in 2010. Kawaguchi has been to the last 4 World Cups with Japan playing in 1998 and 2006 as well as racking up 2 Asian Cup winners medals and being named in the 2001 Confederations Cup Best XI.
3. Naoki Matsuda (Defender)
Centre back Matsuda had made his international debut in 2000 and played the full 90 minutes, earning a booking after just 36. Matsuda would go onto play 40 times for Japan appearing at the 2002 World Cup and winning the Asian Cup in 2000 and 2004 with his final international being in 2005. The majority of his club career was spent at Yokohama Marinos where he made over 450 appearances, winning 3 J League titles in the process. He was released by Marinos in 2010 and joined JFL side Matsumoto Yamaga where he played 15 times in 2011. He sadly passed away in August 2011 after collapsing during training with Yamaga at the age of just 34. Former side Yokohama retired his squad number (3) as a mark of respect.
4. Ryuzo Morioka (Defender/Captain)
Matsuda’s defensive partner Morioka was also the captain of the Japanese in the final and had played over 20 games for the national side pre-tournament. He was a member of the 2000 Olympic side, an Asian Cup winner in 2000 and played once in the 2002 World Cup. His final international appearance came in 2003 and he finished with 38 caps. Most of his club career was spent with Shimizu S-Pulse who he played for from 1995 until 2006. He had a 2 year spell Kyoto Sanga before his retirement in 2008.
5. Junichi Inamoto (Midfielder)
Midfielder Inamoto was the young star of the team in in the early 2000s, his performances securing a move to English giants Arsenal even despite the fact he was substituted at half-time in the final. Inamoto joined Arsenal from Gamba Osaka in 2001 but only made 4 appearances for the Gunners before being released before the 2002 World Cup. He scored twice and caught the attention of the media and teams worldwide. He signed for Fulham after the tournament and quickly became a hit with Fulham fans, even scoring in a 3-1 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United. His performances in 2002 led to him being shortlisted for the Ballon D’Or. He left Fulham due to injury concerns in 2004 and joined West Brom. He had a stop-start spell with the Baggies before spending time at Galatasaray, Eintracht Frankfurt and Rennes. He returned to Japan in 2010 with Kawasaki Frontale, his current club. His international career has continued, as well, with Inamoto playing 83 times for Japan with 5 goals and appearances at 3 Confederations Cups and 3 World Cups.
8. Hiroaki Morishima (Striker)
Morishima was an experienced striker for the Japanese having made over 40 appearances since his 1995 debut before the final and was booked late on. His entire club career was spent with Cerezo Osaka in Japan making over 500 appearances and scoring more than 150 goals in an 18 year career with the side. He managed to appear for Japan at two World Cups and two Asian Cups. Retired in October 2008.
9. Akinori Nishizawa (Striker)
Striker Nishizawa was one of only a handful of the Japanese squad to be playing outside of Japan before the tournament (he was nearing the end of his spell in Spain with Espanyol) and was substituted after 74 minutes of the final. He made his name at Cerezo Osaka alongside Morishima which earned him international recognition in 1997. He was Japan’s top scorer with 5 goals during their victorious Asian Cup campaign in 2000 which alerted Espanyol who signed him afterwards. His time in Spain was not a success and he left following the Confederations Cup for a short spell with Bolton in England before returning to Japan with Cerezo. He had a quick stint at Shimizu S-Pulse before returning to Cerezo in 2009 and he retired at the end of the 2009 season.
14. Teruyoshoi Ito (Midfielder)
Midfielder Ito made his Japan debut in 1997 and played the full 90 minutes in the final. Spent 18 seasons playing for J League side Shimizu S-Pulse until 2010 when he joined his current club Ventforet Kofu. Played 27 times for Japan but his final appearance was in 2001.
16. Koji Nakata (Defender)
The versatile Nakata is often regarded by non-Japanese fans as “the other Nakata” and was capable of playing in midfield and defence. Stayed with his club Kashima Antlers until 2005 when he earned a move to French giants Marseille. His time in France was not a resounding success and he left after a year for FC Basel in Switzerland. He rejoined Antlers in 2008 and still plays for them. His international career continued past the final with Koji going on to play at 2 World Cups and 2 more Confederations Cups. He also earned an Asian Cup medal in 2004 as well as scoring his 2 international goals in the semis and final of the tournament. As of his final appearance in 2007, he has 57 international caps with the 2 goals.
18. Kazuyuki Toda (Midfielder)
Defensive midfielder Toda was one of 3 uncapped players pre-tournament but established himself as a starter quickly. He was a regular in the Japanese team for the next year making 20 appearances in all and playing at the 2002 World Cup but after 2002 never played internationally again. Left his first club Shimizu S-Pulse in 2003 for England and Tottenham Hotspur but he only played 4 times before he left and began a journey around clubs. These included spells at ADO Den Haag in Holland, Shimizu S-Pulse, Tokyo Verdy, Sanfrecce Hiroshima, JEF United Chiba, Gyeongnam of South Korea, Thespa Kusatsu and Machida Zelvia. He currently plays in Singapore with Warriors FC.
20. Yasuhiro Hato (Defender)
Defender Hato had only made his international debut weeks before the tournament began and he managed 15 appearances in total over the next year. He missed out on selection for the 2002 World Cup and never played internationally again. His entire club career was spent in Japan where he played for Yokohama Flugels, Yokohama Marinos, Kashiwa Reysol and Omiya Ardija. Made nearly 400 appearances for these clubs between 1995 and 2010.
21. Shinji Ono (Midfielder)
Without doubt one of the most famous and revered footballers from Japan and all of Asia, Ono had already played 15 times for Japan before the tournament including an appearance at the 1998 World Cup aged just 18. His performances in the Confederations Cup led to a move from first team Urawa Red Dragons to Dutch giants Feyenoord. His first season ended with a UEFA Cup victory making Ono the first Japanese player to win a European trophy. His spell at Feyenoord is remembered fondly by the fans but injuries led to him returning Urawa in 2006. More injuries limited his involvement over the next two seasons and he returned to Europe with German side VFL Bochum. He returned to Japan with Shimizu S-Pulse in 2010 before joining current club, Western Sydney Warriors in Australia, in 2012. His international career has been hampered by injuries meaning he only earned 56 caps for Japan, the last of those being in 2008.
2. Kenichi Uemura (Defender)
Defender Uemura made his debut for Japan just weeks before the tournament and played 3 more times during the tournament but was an unused substitute in the final. These proved to be his only international caps. His entire playing career was spent in Japan between 1993 and 2008. During this time he played for Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Cerezo Osaka, Tokyo Verdy and Roasso Kumamoto before his retirement. His career was dogged by knee problems and he experienced 7 operations pre retirement.
6. Toshihiro Hattori (Defender)
Hattori had made his international debut in 1996 and was another unused substitute in the final. Managed to amass 44 caps in 7 years and was selected for 2 World Cups but only played 15 minutes at them. His club career has been spent entirely in Japan with clubs like Jubilo Iwata, Tokyo Verdy and Gainare Tottori. Still playing at the age of 39 with FC Gifu.
10. Atsuhiro Miura (Midfielder)
Making his international debut in 1999, Miura came on at half-time for Inamoto in the final. He made 25 appearances over 6 years but missed out on the 2002 World Cup squad. Spent his entire career in Japan playing for Yokohama Flugels, Yokohama Marinos, Tokyo Verdy, Vissel Kobe before ending his career with a spell at Yokohama FC. Retired at the end of the 2010 season.
11. Masashi Nakayama (Striker)
Experienced striker Nakayama was a late substitute for Nishizawa in the final. Made his international debut in 1990 and amassed 53 caps and 21 goals including the first ever Japanese goal at a World Cup in 1998 and the fastest international hat-trick which he got against Brunei in 3 minutes and 3 seconds. His goalscoring feats were not limited to internationals as he was profilic for his club side Jubilo Iwata. Making his debut in 1990, he went on to score 247 goals for Jubilo and broke numerous records including: most hat-tricks in a J. League season with 5 in 1998, most goals in a single J. League season with 36 in 1998, the most goals in J. League history with 157 and the world record for consecutive hat-tricks when he scored 4 in a row in April 1998 and amassed 16 goals during that period. Left Jubilo in 2009 at the age of 42 and remarkably continued for another 3 seasons Consadole Sapporo befoe retiring in December 2012 at the incredible age of 45.
12. Seigo Narazaki (Goalkeeper)
Another unused substitute, Narazaki made his international debut in 1998 and made the squads for the next 4 World Cups before retiring with 77 caps in 2010. Like so many others, his club career has been only in Japan. He joined current club Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1999 from Yokohama Flugels and has made over 600 appearances in his 18 year career.
13. Yoshiteru Yamashita (Striker)
Another of the uncapped players in the squad and another unused substitute, Yamashita made his debut during the tournament against Brazil. He would go on to play twice more for Japan without scoring. Never a prolific scorer like Nakayama, Yamashita played in Japan for Avispa Fukuoka, Velgata Sendai, Kashiwa Reysol, Omiya Ardija, Tochigi and Ryukyu between 1996 and his retirement in 2010.
15. Toshiya Fujita (Midfielder)
Fujita was another unused substitute in the final and made his debut in 1995. He went on to win 24 caps and score thrice in 10 years with the national team. Fujita was the cornerstone of the Jubilo Iwata team between 1994 and 2005 save for a short loan spell at FC Utrecht in Holland in 2003. He joined Nagoya Grampus Eight in 2005 before moving on to Roasso Kumamoto in 2009. Retired at the end of the 2010 season.
17. Tomokazu Myojin (Midfielder)
Another unused substitute in the final, Myojin had made his international debut in 2000 and earned 26 caps, scoring thrice in his two year spell in the national side. During that time he earned a call-up to the 2002 World Cup squad. Myojin is another who has not left Japan in his club career, playing for Kashiwa Reysol for 9 years before joining Gamba Osaka (his current club) in 2005.
19. Tatsuhiko Kubo (Striker)
Brought on for Ono on the hour mark, Kubo made his international debut in 1998, earning 32 caps and scoring 11 times in 8 years. Kubo’s club career saw spells at Japanese sides Sanfrecce Hiroshima (twice), Yokohama Marinos, Yokohama FC and Zweigen Kanazawa between 1995 and his retirement in 2012.
22. Takayuki Suzuki (Striker)
Suzuki made his international debut just before the tournament and was an unused substitute in the final. He scored his first international goal in the tournament against Cameroon and went on to earn 55 caps and score 11 goals including one at the 2002 World Cup. Suzuki began his career at Kashima Antlers and had loan spells in Brazil and Belgium before leaving permanently after a decade of service in 2005. He embarked on a global adventure with spells at clubs including Red Star Belgrade in Serbia, Portland Timbers in the USA and Yokohama Marinos in his home nation. He joined Mito HollyHock in 2011 and still plays there.
23. Ryota Tsuzuki (Goalkeeper)
The final uncapped player in the squad, Tsuzuki made his debut, like Yamashita, in the tournament match against Brazil. He would go on to play only 5 more times in the 8 years following his debut. He started his career at Gamba Osaka before joining Urawa Red Dragons in 2002 where, barring a loan spell at Shonan Bellmare in 2010, he finished his career. He announced his retirement from football in January 2011.
Frenchman Troussier took over the Japan job in 1998 having spent a long time working in Africa managing nations such as Nigeria and South Africa amongst others. As Japan coach he won the 2000 Asian Cup, finished second at the 2001 Confederations Cup and made the round of 16 at the 2002 World Cup. He left the Japan post after the World Cup and has had stints with Qatar, Marseille, Morocco and Ryukyu. Currently managing Shenzhen Ruby of China, a position he has held since 2011.
And that, folks, is what became of the Japan squad from the Confederations Cup final of 12 years ago. The other half of the Confederations Cup special will be up a bit later.
If there are any suggestions for future editions or you wish just to chat football then get in contact.