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Coach Takeshi Okada Touches Japanese Hearts
--“World Cup Semi-Finalist” Prediction Leads to Dreams

Coach Okada who superbly guided his troops at the World Cup in South Africa

Waseda University's School of Political Science and Economics Graduate Coach Takeshi Okada's Japan national football team took on Paraguay in the first knockout round of the World Cup in South Africa, attempting to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time in team history. With both teams level at 0-0 after regulation time, and still unable to break the deadlock after extra-time and a grueling 120 minutes, the match headed into the tournament's first penalty shootout. Although reaching the brink of victory, Japan exited the tournament in the round of 16.

At the post-match conference, Okada said of his players, “They were marvelous. Japan can be proud of them. Asia can be proud of them. They fought to the end and that's what makes me proud.” And he continued with a hint of regret, “It is my responsibility that the players couldn't get up and win. I lacked the hunger and commitment required. I am full of regret right now.”

Last summer, Okada (right) and fellow Waseda graduates, marathon runner Toshihiko Seko and sports commentator Masaaki Horio, discuss how to take on the rest of the world.

Immediately prior to the tournament Japan lost four straight warm-up matches. Regardless of taking a bashing from critics, the media and supporters alike, and facing a dire situation, with indomitable fighting spirit and consistent belief, Okada stood up to face the best in the world. The sight of Okada turning the team's fortunes around to lead Japan into the knockout stages for the first time in a World Cup staged away from home gave strength to Waseda students, alumni, staff, and of course, many people throughout Japan. There are now many Japanese who believe that, one day, Japan will become “World Cup semi-finalists” as Okada predicted. Thank you coach Okada for all your hard work.

Related Link

Athlete's Winning against the World-A Discussion with Okada, Seko and Horio.