I think it’s fair to say that Celtic supporters are absolutely delighted tonight as most of us have been hoping Japan do well in this FIFA World Cup, considering the connection we have to the country with no less than FIVE Japanese players now in the team and us having brough in manager Ange Postecoglou from the J-League.
And done well they have, in fact, they have done incredibly well and qualified for the last 16 tonight after a dramatic 2-1 win over former World Cup winners Spain and sending former holders Germany crashing out.
It really is incredible, considering they have went through after beating both Spain and Germany, yet surprisingly losing to Costa Rica!
And a huge part of their success has been Celtic attacker Daizen Maeda.
It is no surprise that both games he started up front for Japan, they won both games, and yet he didn’t feature at all against Costa Rica, not even off the bench, and that is the game they lost.
He absolutely terrorised the Spanish defence tonight with his relentless pressing, and he did the same against Germany.
It was actually Maeda’s aggressive pressing that lead to the Spanish keeper playing a rushed ball out and resulting in Japan’s first goal.
The only downside for Maeda this tournament is he hasn’t been receiving any service from Japan’s midfield, the only time he has done was a through ball against Germany which Maeda scored from but had just gone too early and was offside.
This Japan team would have really benefitted from the inclusion of fellow Celtic player Reo Hatate in midfield. His creativity would have definitely provided Maeda with more opportunities to score that he’s received so far.
It is really great for Maeda and I am really happy for him, considering so many people were looking down their nose at him after he was picked ahead of fellow Celtic star Kyogo Furuhashi.
Celtic now have all four World Cup stars in the last 16 with Juranovic, Carter-Vickers, Aaron Mooy and now Daizen Maeda.
And the best thing is, they have all played huge parts in getting their countries through.
They have all been fantastic representatives of Celtic at the World Cup, and I can’t wait to support them all now in the last 16.
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