Japan have no time to feel sorry for themselves

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ABU DHABI: Japan captain Maya Yoshida says his side must learn from Friday’s painful Asian Cup final defeat and use the experience to make a breakthrough at the next World Cup by getting beyond the last 16 for the first time.

Japan had been looking for a fifth Asian title but were stunned 3-1 in the final by Qatar in the UAE.

Invited to take part in the Copa America in June and July, and with their qualification campaign for the 2022 World Cup set to begin in September, there is little time for Japan to reflect on their disappointment.

“Our first target is, of course, to qualify for the World Cup, and then get over the wall at which we were stopped last time, the round of 16. That is an objective for Japanese football,” Yoshida said after the final.

“In order to do that we have the Copa America coming up and then in the autumn the World Cup qualifiers, and we have to make sure we learn from this defeat.

“We have to capitalise upon this experience looking ahead to what comes next. Of course Im disappointed, but we have to look forward.”

Yoshida said he felt a sense of responsibility for the surprise defeat to Qatar, who will host the World Cup in 2022.

“For the first and second goals we conceded from a player right in front of me, and I really feel a big sense of regret that I wasnt able to lead the team to the title,” he added.