Sunday, March 3, 2024

Tomiyasu: I need time to forget about football

Takehiro Tomiyasu says he needs time to forget about football after Japan’s penalty shootout defeat to Croatia.

Having struggled with a muscular problem in the build-up to the tournament, the last 16 tie was the first time the Arsenal defender was fit enough to start a match.

Always his own harshest critic, Tomi labelled his performance “a disaster”.

Japan were good value for their half time lead, given to them two minutes before the break by Daizen Maeda, but were caught out by Ivan Perisic’s header and struggled for momentum thereafter.

While they showed flashes of attacking intent in extra time, it felt like they were being lured into a trap by Croatia who have developed a reputation for grinding sides down before winning via a shootout.

Japan’s penalties were nothing less than a disaster with Croatia’s Dominik Livakovic saving three of their four efforts to seal a 3-1 victory.

“Of course, we are so disappointed with the result,” Tomiyasu reflected. “My performance was a disaster today so I am sorry for the team.

He added: “I can’t be proud. I am not satisfied about what happened. This is football and we need to be much, much better to win against a stronger team.”

Japan had sealed their place in the knockout stages thanks to shock wins over Spain and Germany – Tomiyasu featuring as a second half sub in both – but also lapsed to a defeat to Costa Rica.

The Samurai Blue have qualified for the knockout stages in four of the last six World Cups but have lost on each occasion. Failure to set a new benchmark clearly weighed heavily on Tomiyasu in the aftermath.

Somehow we need to get him in the right headspace for a return to Premier League action. There are 20 days until Arsenal play West Ham United and he’ll be expected to start training again before then.

As things stand, he’s not sure what the plan is.

“I don’t know. Hopefully, I can get a bit of rest. I need time to forget about football. I need a bit of time.”

After Matt Turner and Thomas Partey, Tomiyasu is the third Gunner to exit the tournament. It’s well documented that Ben White has returned home for personal reasons and Gabriel Jesus is back in London after sustaining a knee injury.

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Put a Donk on it

Ben White, Jesus’ injury and now burn outs for others. Starting to think the World Cup is almost certain to derail at least our title challenge…


It is a bad idea to have it mid season for sure. It make the Premier League a bit of a lottery if you lose key players with so little time either side of the tournament.

49 49 undefeated

Must Hurt – feel for him
Although gutted for Japan that Was easily one of the worst penalties I have seen

Take that well deserved break Tomi
Shit happens


I was gutted for them, but always had a sense they would struggle in penalties. They kinda needed to go for it during regular play. Anyways, live and learn. Fingers crossed he is able to get up and running with us soon


Saka bounced back big time after the Euros, I’m sure Tomi can do the same 🙂 (minus the racial abuse part)


What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Time to evaluate and come back as the (take)HERO we know and need


He should remember just how far Japan have come in recent years. It looked like inexperience in the shoot out and they won’t let that happen again.

I can’t believe we have a player of his quality not currently making a 1st team start. Things are looking up!


I don’t think that it was inexperience in the shoot out that led to Japan’s downfall…simply really poorly taken penalties.

And Tomiyasu is being too hard on himself; overall he’s had a good World Cup.


It looked as if they hadn’t been practicing penalties. Even a blast down the middle is a better bet, as keepers never bother to stand still.


I know there probably aren’t, but are there any news of Ben?
With Sterling exiting due to robbery and with almost every detail disclosed about that and the fact he’ll probably return to WC, while Ben won’t and he won’t join the squad on tour, the situation grows more worrisome by the minute.
Can’t think past death in the family and even then it seems too serious somehow.
This WC is taking it’s toll on every one of our players it seems. 😞


No point speculating. It is his personal life after all and we don’t have a right to it.


I agree, although as selfish as it sounds we need him back kicking in Jan. He’s been outstanding this season, taking Tomi out of the starting line up speaks for itself, in a position that’s new to him.


Don’t think his performance was that bad. There was the early chance for Perisic after a duel between them but I think Perisic’s cleverness after almost 15 years at top level was the key factor there (and the fact that Tomi hasn’t started a game for quite a while). For Croatia’s goal I don’t think Tomi was at fault as he wasn’t marking Perisic but another player.
But I admire his spirit and hope he’ll get over it quickly and keeps performing for us like he did in the past.

timorous me

Yeah, and despite starting, I thought it was pretty clear Tomi still wasn’t back to 100%. Before extra time I believe I saw him in the background lying on the ground with a leg up in the air being stretched and such.

Just have to hope that a couple weeks of rest and treatment will have him ready for the second half of the season, but he might be kind of like Partey now in that we’ll basically always be living on edge worrying when he’ll pick up his next upper-leg muscular injury.

Nate K

I thought he was good if not great in defense and had some nice line-breaking passes from deep. First start since his injury, too.


I think he’s blaming himself for the Perisic goal. But he was stuck marking between Perisic and another Croatian player, while his teammate on the back side of Perisic had only Perisic in front of him to mark. So it’s certainly not all on Tomi.

Hard luck Japan. If only they draw against Spain instead of beating them, they would be playing Morocco today instead.

He’s only 24, so he’ll likely have the 2026 and 2030 World Cups to look forward to in the future. He may even be able to squeeze out the 2034 World Cup when he’ll be 35.

Actually scratch that first sentence, they would be out on goal difference to Germany if they didn’t beat Spain.


I hope the headline doesn’t mean he’s signing for Stoke ???


Let’s hope that come next May, a Premiership Winners medal will have helped cheer him up. 👍

Giuseppe Hovno

I was hoping Tomi would take the winning penalty but alas it got nowhere near that

Top Bins

I still can’t quite get over how tame Japan’s penalties were. I get trying to read the keeper and perhaps give them the eyes before slotting calmly to a bottom corner but wouldn’t it be more effective to train to put it in the top corner with power as a 1st option? Like Maitland Niles technique that was so effective.

A Different George

Every keeper knows you cannot stop a good penalty even if you guess right. Every high-level professional player has the technical ability to take a good penalty. It’s a matter of nerve, pressure, confidence. If you put it into either top corner with any pace at all, it can’t be saved. But you could also sky it. If you blast it into either bottom corner, no keeper can reach it–but you want to take some pace off to make sure you don’t kick it wide, and now the keeper can reach it if he has guessed right. So, you do… Read more »

Teryima Adi

No one takes a penalty kick better than Niles- cool as a cucumber.😀

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