There’s a reason why KUBO Takefusa is as big as he is in Japan. And it’s moreover why Tuesday’s (3 Admirable) semi-final against Spain will be one of the preeminent exceedingly expected occasions. At the Tokyo 2020, Olympic Games for the host country.
Kubo and Japan come to the final four of the Games on Saturday (31 July) with a 4-2 win. On punishments over a constant Unused Zealand furnish. After the sides failed to create an objective in 120 at Kashima Stadium.
Kubo, a 20-year-old Real Madrid player. They had struck in each of his three group games and did not take a penalty on the night.
But he was more than comfortable in ceding the highlight to his teammates – namely goalkeeper TANI Kosei, who spared the All Whites’ moment kick, and captain YOSHIDA Maya who changed over the winning punishment that sent Japan into the Olympic semi-finals for the primary time since London 2012.
Indeed sometimes the Games opened, this was the way Kubo was angling for all along – a shot at Japan’s first Olympic men’s football award since Mexico 1968 whereas defeating Spain, his domestic away from home.
His Spanish friends feel much the same.
“I have a lot of teammates in Spain,” said Kubo, who split the last La Liga season on loan at Villarreal and Getafe.
“In fact, I spoke to (Barcelona defender) Eric Garcia before this match and we both wanted to meet in the semis.
“And it happened. We were friends, now we are rivals and we will give it our all. It’s going to be a great match and hopefully, we can win.”
Spain, currently ranked 6th within the world and highlighting Euro 2020 standout Pedri, has delighted in incredible victory at both club and worldwide level this century.
But that’s not the as it were the reason for the buildup ahead of Tuesday’s coordinate at Saitama Stadium.
The country of Japan has long had an infatuation with Spanish football going back to when the late Johan Cruyff coached Barcelona from 1988-96.
To a people who obsess almost prepare, Cruyff’s ‘Total Football’ was brilliant. They were snared, and have been ever since.
So when in 2011, one of their claim – 10-year-old Kubo – found a home at Barcelona’s La Masia institute, the feeling was like no other for Japan.
Including to the expected circus on Tuesday is Japan’s decades-long thirst for an award in men’s football that has gone unquenched.