Going for Gold!
The day before the official opening of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, on Thursday, July 26th Gotoku Sakai and the Japanese selection began their challenge. In their opening game at Hampdem Park in Glasgow, the young Asian side beat the fancied Spanish 1-0. The only goal of the game was scored by Yuki Otsu from a set-piece in the 34th minute.
74th minute substitute
VfB defender Gotoku Sakai was not in the starting eleven but was introduced as a substitute in the 74th minute. It was the 21 year old full-back’s first taste of Olympic involvement and he got to enjoy a somewhat surprising success against a Spanish side considered amongst the favourites to take the gold.
The ‘Furia Roja’ Under 23 selection entered the competition as one of the most fancied title hopefuls, going into the tournament with European Champions Jordi Alba, as well as World and European Champions Javier Martinez and Juan Mata in their starting eleven.
Morocco and Honduras to come
In the second Group D game, Morocco and Honduras played out a 2-2 draw. For Gotoku Saki and his Japanese team mates, the group phase continues on July 29th against Morocco at St. James Park in Newcastle, before completing their group on August 5th, when they face Honduras at the City of Coventry Stadium in Coventry.