- On Tuesday at 7pm Polish time, Maciej Skorza’s Urawa Red Diamonds will face Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Club World Championship. The match will be held on the field. King Abdullah in Jeddah
- Coach Urawa will be the first Pole to lead the team to the semi-finals of the Club World Championship
- – Skorża is valued here. They won the AFC Champions League, reached the final of the League Cup, called the Levin Cup, and finished fourth in the league, one of Urawa’s best seasons. A great result, if you look at the quality of the players – says Japanese journalist Toru Nakata, who writes for Japanese football portals Footballista and Soccer Digest.
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This will be a historic moment. Maciej Skorża will be the first Polish coach to lead a team into the semi-finals of the Club World Championship. His Japanese team, Urawa Red Diamonds, will face Manchester City, the best team in Europe this year, and will also face the most famous coach in the world, Pep Guardiola.
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Skorża has already defeated him once. In 2008, the 37-year-old Catalan was just starting his coaching career and had taken charge of Barcelona just a few weeks earlier, his first head coaching job at this level. In the Champions League qualifying draw, Barcelona faced Wisła Kraków led by Skorza, who was a year younger but had more coaching experience at the time.
In the first match, Barcelona won confidently 4-0, but lost in the return match 0-1. Barcelona advanced to the Champions League, then won it, and in 2009 they also won every possible trophy, including the Club World Cup.
– The story of Skorża’s victory over Pep is very popular in Japanese social media, says local journalist Toru Nakata, who writes for Japanese soccer portals Footballista and Soccer Digest.
Goodbye Maciej Skorza
For Scorza, this is the penultimate match as coach of the Japanese team, and he will coach them in the third place match or in the final. He had already announced that he was leaving. – Most Urawa Red Diamonds fans want him to stay for at least another year, as he is appreciated not only for his results but also for his character – says Nakata.
This assessment was not affected by the latest results. Urawa were not eliminated from the group in the AFC Champions League, meaning they lost their chance to defend the title too early. They finished the season in fourth place in the league and did not qualify for the Asian Cups next season, so the team will not have a chance to achieve another success in the Champions League anytime soon.
– Scorza is appreciated here. He won the AFC Champions League, reached the final of the Levin Cup and finished fourth in the league. This is one of Urawa’s best seasons. A great result if you look at the quality of the players. Skorża knows how to get the best out of them. Urawa was not a favorite for the tournament because it had many weaknesses, for example right-wing defense and many injuries. For this reason, the team’s playing style changed from positional attack to more intense play, where the team scores fewer goals, but also concedes fewer, but in the end it turns out to be a plus because it is very strong – he explains. Japanese journalist.
– Failing to qualify for the Champions League was certainly a disappointing and shameful result, but the fans understand what happened in Vietnam (in the last match of the group stage, which decided the fate of promotion, Scorza’s team lost 1-2 to Hanoi). (Editor’s note) – The team flew there between J-League matches, there were many injuries, and the players were bothered by the heat and humidity – explains the Japanese journalist.
Maciej Skorża inspired the team
– Now our fans hope that Manchester City’s situation in Saudi Arabia will be the same as Urawa’s in Vietnam – adds Nakata.
Mouloudia Algiers is the favorite, of course, but it enters the match in a bad mood. On Saturday, he lost points late in the match against Crystal Palace and only tied 2-2, and in the last six league matches he achieved only one victory. But now he has a chance to win his fifth trophy this year.
He will play in the match against Scorza without the injured Erling Haaland, who did not even train with the team on Monday, but Kevin De Bruyne, who has not played for more than four months, has returned to training, but it is doubtful. He will play.
However, the Polish coach’s team has already enjoyed winning the tournament in Saudi Arabia once, when they unexpectedly beat Mexican club Leon 1-0.
– Urawa showed his character in the match against Lyon, despite Skorza’s departure from the club, just like top scorer Alex Schalke or José Kante (former player of Gornik Zabrze, Wisla Bock, Legia Warszawa – editor’s note). Another example of sacrifice is Hiroki Sakai ( 74- Former Japanese representative, Urawa’s most famous player – Editor’s note). He underwent meniscus surgery in November and was diagnosed as needing three months to fully recover. But he participated in the match against Lyon. After that match, the experienced right-back, a former Japan international, said: “My goal was to play in this game,” which brought the Urawa fans to tears, says Nakata.
– Footballers and fans were inspired by Scorza’s words – adds the journalist.
– I told them after the match that we are only two matches away from becoming world champions. I think we have to keep this dream alive. I don’t think it’s impossible, this is what the Polish confirmed before the match.
Urawa wants to be like the manga characters
– Manchester City are the favorites, but Urawa have accepted the challenge of defeating the giants. There is a famous Japanese manga called “Slam Dunk”, which tells about basketball, and how an unknown team won the first match and is waiting for a confrontation with the stronger team, where everyone thinks that the stronger team (Sano) will win, now the same thing, Urawa, after winning the first match, will face… Manchester City favourite, Yoshio Koizumi, who was named man of the match against FC Lyon, said after the match that he loved the ‘slam dunk’. Urawa Nakata will say: “He went into the game with the mentality of beating Manchester City, no, he had nothing to lose.”
The World Cup semi-final generates great interest in the Land of the Rising Sun. – During the match against FC Lyon, the FIFA website in Japan was crowded (where you can watch broadcasts of World Cup matches – editor’s note). Now I wonder if he won’t be able to take it again, even though the match will start at 3 a.m. Japanese time, Nakata concludes.
In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the semi-final of the King Abdullah match will be held on the 21st, and in Poland on the 19th, in the stadium named after him.
The winner of this match will play on Friday at 7 p.m. Polish time in the final against Brazilian Fluminense, which defeated Egyptian Al-Ahly 2-0 in the second semi-final match.
source:Onet Sports Review
Date of creation: Today, 05:39
Journalist for the newspaper Przeglad Sportuy One
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