“I felt joy while watching the World Cup (which reached the round of 16). It must have motivated our players as well.”
It was good to see the World Cup. As the reality of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) approaches, a feeling of pressure presses on my shoulders.
At the beginning of the year at the WBC entry announcement press conference, manager Lee Kang-cheol revealed his candid intentions.
Korean football, which advanced to the round of 16 at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, and baseball at the WBC, which is comparable to it, are a story that contains the burden of having to produce comparable results.
KBO and coach Lee have emphasized several times from the national team formation stage that ‘the results of international competitions lead to the success of baseball’. For this reason, while intending to change the overall generation, he selected veteran pitchers such as Kim Gwang-hyun (SSG Landers) and Yang Hyeon-jong (KIA Tigers), and pledged to use them as midfielders rather than starting pitchers. It was a choice full of anguish by coach Lee, who could not miss grades or dignity as a national team member.
Director Lee added, “The people of the hometown watching the national baseball team and our players must have a lot of thoughts,” but added, “I want to go far away from Japan rather than ranking in a few places.” As the 1st round (group stage) 2nd round (8th round) of the finals between Groups A and B will be held at the Tokyo Dome, the goal is to advance to the semifinals.
As Japan also reached the World Cup round of 16, Japanese national team coach Hideki Kuriyama feels the same feelings as Lee.
Japan achieved the feat of advancing to the round of 16 by beating Spain and Germany consecutively in the group stage. In particular, they lost to Costa Rica, and even though they gave up the first goals to Germany and Spain, they created a counter electrode and emerged as the main players of the ‘Asian blast’ along with Saudi Arabia. He also scored the opening goal in the quarterfinals against Croatia. He collapsed in the penalty shootout and was unable to overcome his depression in the round of 16, but he finished ninth overall.
That’s why director Kuriyama’s heart is even heavier. Japanese baseball won consecutive championships in the 1st and 2nd WBC, and placed 3rd in the 3rd and 4th tournaments. First of all, the basics are the semifinals, and coach Kuriyama is expected to advance to the finals, furthermore, to challenge for the championship for the first time in 14 years since 2009.
Director Kuriyama recently appeared on TBS and explained the feeling of preparing for the tournament, “Put all the patterns for victory in your head and make sure that there is no place that is out of reach.”
Then, to the moderator’s comment, “Is there anyone who thought soccer would lose to Costa Rica and beat Germany and Spain to reach the round of 16?” “Even though I enjoyed soccer, I felt bad because I was in a nervous situation against a team that was ahead of me.” “, revealing empathy worthy of a commanding tower.
He continued, “I only believe in Japanese baseball, which is made by our seniors and is connected by us. I think Japan is the best in the world when it comes to detailed baseball. I want to beat the United States, which is called the ‘strongest member’, with these players.” It’s good, but we have to win this time.”
The regret that the timing of joining major leaguers is delayed is also a part that the two command towers share. The WBC national team starts training in Arizona, USA on February 15, but Kim Ha-seong (San Diego Padres) will join in March, right before the tournament. Tommy Hyeonsu Edmon (St. Louis Cardinals) has not yet decided when to join. Choi Ji-man (Pittsburgh Pirates) has not been confirmed to join. 스포츠토토
Japan also included Shohei Otani (LA Angels), Yu Darvish (San Diego), Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox), and Lars Nuthba (St. Louis) in the national team, but they are all likely to join just before the tournament. .