2004-05 Japan Home Shirt Size Small
Era: 2004-05 (Used for the 2004 AFC Asian Cup, 2004 AFC Asian Cup Final, the 2006 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Campaign and the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup)
This shirt is in excellent condition! It shows very little wear considering its age with the crest, material, vinyl stripes and Adidas embroidery are almost Immaculate; you'll be hard pressed to find a better version of this shirt today!
Pit to Pit Measurement: 20.5 inches
Shirt Length: 29 inches
made in Adidas's ‘ClimaCool’ range that was introduced ahead of the 2004-05 season; the dimensions of this shirt may in fact be better suited for a size medium or size large by today's standards.
Adidas would produce yet another classic home shirt in their relationship with Japan. Following the suit of the last shirt whereby the heavy white accents were ditched, however, this shirt would change the hue to a lighter and milder shade of blue. Rather than a solid blue backdrop however, Adidas would implement their ghosting stripe motif, and the result, navy stripes were subtly imbued into the shirt to create a phenomenal aesthetic! This shirt would be worn as Japan went all the way to Asian Cup glory in 2004, as well as in glamour friendlies with England and Germany in 2004 and then in 2005, was worn as Japan agonisingly missed out on the semi-final of the Confederations Cup!
Japan entered 2004 with the mission of becoming the champions of Asia again as well as make huge strides in their journey to reach the finals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. They would begin the year by beating Malaysia 4-0 in a friendly on February 7th, before seeing off Iraq 2-0 5 days later. They completed a clean sweep of wins in February when they defeated Oman 1-0 in their opening World Cup qualifier. They would make it 2 wins in a row as they beat Singapore 2-1 on March 31st.
The early spring would bring ‘The Samurai Blue’ to Europe, starting in late April as they fell to Hungary 3-2 in a thrilling contes, before upsetting the Czech Republic 1-0 in Prague on April 28th! A special attraction friendly on May 30th brought them to The City of Manchester Stadium to take on Iceland. A thrilling affair saw Japan prevail 3-2, before securing a fine 1-1 draw with England 24 hours later.
Their return to home soil would yield the visit of India to the Saitama Arena, and Zico’s side would put a show for the 63,000 fans in attendance as they defeated the visitors 7-0 on June 9th!
In their final preparations for the Asian Cup, they would secure respective 3-1 and 1-0 wins over the visiting opponents: Slovakia and Serbia. Japan would arrive in China to take their place in Group D at the Asian Cup to begin their defence of the Asian Cup alongside: Iran, Oman and Thailand.
Shunsuke Nakamura would score to defeat Oman 1-0 for the second time that year, before Thailand were beaten 4-1 to ensure qualification. They reigning champions would then play out a goalless draw with Iran to top the group.
Their quarter final opponents would be Jordan, and penalties would be needed to decide the winner after the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw after extra time. A bizarre shoot-out would see Japan eventually win 4-3 after missing their first 2 spot-kicks and seeing Iran score their first 3!
Another Middle Eastern opponent await in the semi’s in the form of Bahrain. He game of the tournament unfolded in front of 55,000 spectators in Beijing with Japan prevailing 4-3 after extra time, having come from behind on two occasions!
They would meet the host nation China in the final at the Workers Stadium on August 7th and goals from Takashi Fukunishi, Koji Nakata and Keiji Tamada secured a 3-1 win and a successful defence of the Asian Cup crown!
11 days later, Japan hosted Argentina in Shizuoka but fell 2-1 to the Copa America runners-up, before resuming the quest to Germany in 2006 against India in Kolkata on September 8th. 90,000 fans packed into Salt Lake Stadium as the Asian Champions prevailed 4-0. Japan would beat Oman 1-0 for the 3rd time on October 13th, before ending the year of qualifiers with a 1-0 over Singapore on November 17th. Japan would end 2004 with a 3-0 defeat at home to Germany on December 16th, but not even that could take the gloss away from an excellent 2004 for Zico’s side.
A busy 2005 began with a 5-0 win over Kazakhstan on January 29th, before beating Syria 3-0 4 days later as they prepared for the challenge of North Korea in the next phase of World Cup qualifiers. They would see off North Korea 2-1 to get off to a winning start, however, they would taste defeat in qualification for the first time away against Iran on March 25th, only to quickly rebound with a 1-0 win over Bahrain 5 days later.
A busy summer lay ahead with a minimum of 10 games to be played between May 22nd and August 17th. The slog began with a 1-0 defeat at home to Peru on May 22nd, which was then followed up with another 1-0 defeat to the UAE on May 27th. On the qualification front, Japan completed the double over both Bahrain and North Korea in their final preparations ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany. Speaking of Germany, Japan’s stellar performances would see them achieve automatic qualification to the Group Stages of the World Cup, however, their August 17th clash with Iran would determine who topped the group.
Japan would be drawn alongside: Mexico, Brazil and Greece in Group B of the Confeds, however, a 2-1 defeat to Mexico on match-day 1 was not what they were hoping for, especially after taking a 12th minute lead through Atsushi Yanigisawa. They would rebound with a 1-0 win over Greece, and as Mexico defeated Brazil; it was a winner take all clash against the World Champions on June 22nd. Japan would battle to a valiant 2-2 draw, and despite having 4 points each; Brazil’s superior goal difference would see them through to the semi-final at Japan’s expense.
Their first game post the Confederations Cup would be a 1-0 defeat away to North Korea on July 31st, before meeting fellow East Asian nations: China and South Korea. They would draw 2-2 with the former and defeat South Korea 1-0 on August 7th. This set the stage for a fine 2-1 win over Iran on August 17th to earn 1st place bragging rights in World Cup qualification.
Up next came the visit of Honduras in a friendly on September 7th at the Miyagi Stadium. An incredible affair saw Japan battle from 4-2 down to eventually defeat the Central American nation 5-4! This shirt would serve its last two games in the October 2005 friendlies against Latvia, where they had to settle for a 2-2 draw having led 2-0, and then finally, in the disappointing 1-0 defeat away against the Ukraine on October 12th.
The notable players that season(s) were:
Keiji Tamada, Masashi Oguro, Takayuki Suzuki, Atsushi Yanigasawa, Naohiro Takahara, Shunsuke Nakamura, Mitsuo Ogasawara, Yasuhito Endo, Hidetoshi Nakata, Shinji Ono, Junichi Inamoto, Takashi Fukunishi, Keisuke Tsuboi, Akira Kaji, Alex Santos, Koji Nakata, Yuichi Komano, Naoki Matsuda, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, Makoto Tanaka, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, Yoichi Doi, Seigo Narazaki
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