How Celtic heroes Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda fared in big test vs Brazil

By David Walton

June 6, 2022

Celtic pair Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda were both involved as Japan lost out 1-0 to Brazil in Tokyo.

Japan boss Hajime Moriyasu decided to place his faith in Kyogo for a starting berth, and he put on a lively show up against Marquinhos and Eder Militao respectively. Maeda, meanwhile, came on for his Celtic teammate with just under 25 minutes to go as he looked to inject some energy in the closing stages.

It took a late Neymar penalty to bag Brazil the victory in a fortuitous result for Tite’s heavyweights. The game marks the last of Japan’s friendly matches ahead of the Kirin Cup on Friday.

Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images

Kyogo led the line well throughout the first half in particular. Furuhashi had the Brazil centre-backs worried about his movement in behind, whilst his skilful footwork also led to several free-kicks as he held the ball up impressively.

But he was also a goal threat at times too. The former Vissel Kobe man found himself in between both Brazil centre-backs to head over in the first half. He also came close as he attempted to latch onto a knock-down in the box before the half-time whistle.

The second 45 saw a quieter display, but he was still dropping deep and managing to bring others into play with his technical ability. Kyogo had another powerful effort at goal deflected wide early on in the second half before being brought off after 66 minutes for Maeda.

Kyogo and Daizen Maeda hold their own against star-studded Brazil

Maeda didn’t manage to get any real sights of goal as the game reached its conclusion. With Brazil piling the pressure on as the match wore on, it became tougher for Japan’s forward players to make an impact.

But his pace was clearly causing problems for a tiring Brazilian back-line on some rare occasions. He added something to Japan that they needed to help try and bag a draw as he also dropped deep to carry out his defensive work.

Interestingly, Moriyasu threw Maeda on as a direct replacement for Kyogo at centre-forward. That’s despite him largely operating as a winger for Celtic this season. Even so, he still managed to put plenty of energy and aggression into his performance and can count himself unfortunate to have ended up on the losing side along with Kyogo.

Photo by Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images

It’s still a morale-booster for both men that they were able to show some of their best traits against a team of Brazil’s standard today. It bodes well ahead of next season’s Champions League campaign which Maeda and Kyogo will be a big part of.

It’s also worth noting that Celtic-linked Ko Itakura was also involved, playing the entire 90 minutes and showing up well against the likes of Neymar and Richarlison.

Next up for Japan is the Kirin Cup semi-final against Ghana on Friday. Both Kyogo and Maeda couldn’t have done much more today to earn a spot for that one. Regardless of the defeat, Moriyasu was surely satisfied with both men.

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