“I was extremely disappointed and shocked,” Kyogo on missing out on World Cup

Celtic Star Kyogo has opened up about his World Cup disappointment in a newspaper column in the Japanese media outlet The Mainichi. The Celtic striker looked certain to be included in the Japan squad for Qatar alongside his Celtic teammate Daizen Maeda but was a shock omission when the squad was announced.

“My dream and my goal was to play in the World Cup. Of course, I was extremely disappointed and shocked,” Kyogo admitted. “But this is no time to stay depressed. My football life doesn’t end here. Now I have to move forward.”

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring our third goal during the cinch Premiership match against Dundee United at Celtic Park on Saturday November 5, 2022. Photo Andrew Milligan

Kyogo explained how he found out about missing out on the Japan squad for Qatar and how he has tried to come to terms with the disappointment.”I woke up early in the morning at home in Scotland to watch the press conference announcing the members of the national team, but my name was not called. I was preparing for the Champions League match against Real Madrid so I tried not to think about it and concentrated on the game in front of me.

“During this time, my Celtic teammates were very supportive. I felt that everyone cared about me a lot. It would be selfish to stay depressed for ever and it would cause trouble for the team. My motto is to smile and I kept saying ‘don’t worry’ and tried to keep a smile on my face.

“When I went home after the game against Real, I had the next day off. I decided to use that one day to cheer myself up. We watched films and played games. I spent the rest of the day lounging around at home. And by the time I went to training the next morning, I felt okay.

“The World Cup is a stage I have dreamt of playing in since I was a child. When I was called up to the national team for the first time in 2019, my dream turned into a goal. And every time I got selected for the squad, I felt I was getting closer.

“I moved to Celtic last summer because I wanted to play abroad and at the same time I wanted to play in the World Cup. I thought that if I played well abroad, the World Cup would be an extension of that.

Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring our third goal during the cinch Premiership match against Dundee United at Celtic Park on Saturday November 5, 2022. Photo Andrew Milligan

“But I wasn’t good enough. I had chances to play for the national team in the past, but I didn’t make any tangible difference in terms of being a goal scorer. I have no regrets about the path I chose. Looking back, four years ago, when the tournament was held in Russia, I was still with FC Gifu in the second division.

“At the time, I couldn’t have imagined that I would be feeling such regret four years later. So it’s great that I was able to experience this feeling.

“I can’t think about four years from now, but I am motivated to grow into a player who will be selected for the next edition. I will support Japan as a fan. There are players who have fought with me carrying the flag of Japan on their shoulders. I really want them to make it to the last eight for the first time.”

Celtic v Dundee United – Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates scoring Celtic’s third goal during the cinch Premiership match at Celtic Park, Saturday November 5, 2022. Photo Andrew Milligan

Kyogo has already scored ten goals for Celtic so, always humble, has set himself a very modest target for the season. If he stays fit Kyogo should be looking at a return of around 25 goals going by his current scoring rate.

“My latest target is to score 15 goals in the league by the end of the season. Last season I scored 12 goals. This season I have already reached double figures, so I think if I can score 15 this season I will have had a better season.

19th December 2021; Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland; Scottish League Cup final, Hibernian versus Celtic: Kyogo Furuhashi of Celtic with the trophy

“I feel that if I get over 15 goals next time, I can surpass what I did last year. I just want to get better and give something back to everyone. I can do my best because so many people support me and give me love.”

Japan open their World Cup campaign against Germany tomorrow lunchtime and we’ll find out then if Kyogo’s omission was something that Hajime Moriyasu may end up regretting.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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