Tenacity pays off for Japan
In The City
Bold Chieftan triumphs

June 9: 
If ability, planning, confidence and luck are the secrets of success, Japan had them all en route to their maiden World Cup finals victory. They had to weather three defeats and a draw to achieve this and Sunday�s win over Russia shows they are mature enough and have the endurance to outlast physically superior rivals. They are also getting the right tactical inputs from a seasoned European coach and should curse themselves if they fail to make the last 16.

The teams were cautious in the beginning and it was largely a midfield battle in the first half with both sides waiting for the other to make the first move. Such no-nonsense and practical approach is typical of European teams and it was great to see Japan beat them at their own game. They played with three central defenders who rarely moved up but there was flexibility in their midfield which added strength to the defence and attack.

The contest was even for a greater part of the game and this meant the team looking to draw first blood had to shift gear for a while at some stage. Japan accepted the challenge since a win would brighten their chances and increased the pace after the break, as they had in the previous match against Belgium. But unlike that game where they got carried away after scoring twice and allowed the equaliser, Japan stayed calm and clicked the lock shut when it mattered.

It is difficult for Asians to execute this against the stronger Europeans but what Japan lacked in power, they made up with their speed and agility. Not for a second did they let Russia enjoy numerical superiority in the danger zone and moved up enough men while attacking. Japan�s strategy was simple but the application was clinical and they committed very few errors. This discipline has been the hallmark of the Japanese campaign so far and they are highly motivated as was evident from the commitment of the players.

Russia were far too predictable to put such highly-motivated opponents under serious pressure. There was no variety in their forays and the flanks were rarely used. Japan were equal to the task when Russia surged down the middle and countered the threat by having enough men going for the tackles.

Now, luck is a major ingredient in any form of success and on Sunday, the ball was rolling in favour of Japan. Forget the Russian appeal for penalty which didn�t look bad, Japan also got away with some rough body-checks inside their own half. But this doesn�t dilute their achievement and the victory was a just reward for Japanese perseverance.

There was another shortcoming in the Russian attack which helped Japan keep them at bay after taking the lead. Russia reached the penetrating zone quite often in search of the equaliser but the support players failed to produce that extra amount of speed and reach positions from where they could have a crack at the goal. Russia were quick to release the final passes but almost always, the Japanese defenders beat their attackers to the ball.

Another virtue of the Japanese players is they are quick to learn. They realised after the first match that it�s unwise and difficult to operate at a brisk pace for long and slowed down proceedings after getting the goal. They also have an energetic lot of midfielders and Junichi Inamoto stood out once again for his calm and composed finish.



Gupta, Alam in semis

Rakesh Gupta moved into the semi-finals from group A in the YMCA Open one-frame handicapped snooker meet Su-nday. In the quarter final, he beat Murtaza 95-29. In group B, Miraj Alam beat Prakash Me-hrotra 95-67 in another quarter final.

Other results

Miraj bt S.T. Bhutia, S.B. Rana bt Chandra, Shantanu bt S. Salim, Khurshid bt D. Verma, P. Mehrotra bt Amir Ali, Ashish Mandelia bt A. Kejriwal, Brian bt Anubhav Agarwal, Roger bt Shoaib Ahmed, Miraj bt S.B. Rana, Khurshid bt Shantanu, P. Mehrotra bt Ashish, Brian bt Rogers, P. Mehrotra bt Brian

Saturday�s results

Murtaza bt Albert, Rakesh bt Peter Periwal, Rakesh Gupta bt Murtaza

Schools regatta

Modern High School beat St Thomas in the 30th Indian Oil Servo national inter-school regatta Sunday.

Other results

Girls: Modern High bt Mahadevi Birla;

Boys: Lake View bt Don Bosco, National High School bt La Martiniere, St Xavier�s bt St James, St James bt South Point, Cathedral Mission bt Don Bosco


REGATTA: 30th Indian Oil Servo inter-school regatta championship (Lake Club)

SOCCER: CFL third and fourth division matches


June 9: 
The S. Ganapathy-trained Bold Chieftan won the Chief Minister�s Cup on Sunday. B. Prakash partnered the Placerville-Shamirana son to Victory.


(With inter-state dividends)

1st race: Amber Windsor (Prakash) 1; Sea Legend 2; Advertorial 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 8; (1-16.3). Tote: Win Rs 11; Place: 10; 19; 20; Quinella: 36; Shp: 43; Tanala: 91. Fav: Amber Windsor (6).

2nd race: Arcaro (C. Alford) 1; Cool Camp 2; Thrillenniium 3. Not run: Thrill of Success (11). Won by: 3/4; 2-3/4; (1-29.1). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 13; 38; 17; Quinella: 147; Shp: 118; Tanala: 1,122. Fav: Arcaro (2).

3rd race: Crow Wood (Appu) 1; Star Treasure 2; Arrival 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 5-1/2; (1-15.4). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 10; 12; 18; Quinella: 21; Shp: 34; Tanala: 92. Fav: Star Treasure (5).

4th race: Rainbow Velvet (Prakash) 1; Black Ocean 2; Kilkemny 3. Won by: 5-1/4; 5; (1-16.2). Tote: Win Rs 13; Place: 10; 14; 27; Quinella: 30; Shp: 35; Tanala: 127. Fav: Rainbow Velvet (3).

5th race: Altosax (Faisal) 1; Starjo 2; Saturn Star 3. Won by: 3/4; 5; (1-29.7). Tote: Win Rs 62; Place: 16; 33; 31; Quinella: 330; Shp: 87; Tanala: 4,305. Fav: Rio (5).

6. Chief Minister�s Cup 1,200m: (1-2-6) Bold Chieftan (Prakash) 1; Adamile 2; Top Gun 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 3/4; (1-13.4). Tote: Win Rs 26; Place: 13; 39; 18; Quinella: 147; Shp: 110; Tanala: 815. Fav: Bold Chieftan (1).

7th race: Silvertre (Shroff) 1; Different Ballgame 2; Angeles 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1-1/2; (1-14.6). Tote: Win Rs 24; Place: 14; 13; 40; Quinella: 43; Shp: 48; Tanala: 275. Fav: Silvertre (4).

8th race: Cut Time (J. Chinoy) 1; Just Brave 2; Steinlen 3. Won by: 2-1/4; SH; (1-29.5). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 14; 13; 19; Quinella: 30; Shp: 41; Tanala: 213. Fav: Just Brave (1).

9th race: Go Honey Go (Appu) 1; Butter Sponge 2; Brunswick 3. Won by: 2; 1/2; (1-15.7). Tote: Win Rs 25; Place: 10; 17; 17; Quinella: 54; Shp: 37; Tanala: 265. Fav: Go Honey Go (7).

Jackpot: Rs 3,579; (C) Rs 417.

Treble: (i) Rs 82; (ii) Rs 222; (iii) Rs 221.


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