During a recent visit to the Home of FIFA, the ex-leader of the Japan national team in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups said in an interview that “football in Japan has progressed incredibly. Currently there is fantastic work being done at grassroots level and I think we are reaping the rewards of the 2002 World Cup, which had a huge impact on my country. I would not be surprised to see a large number of Japanese players at big European clubs in the next ten years.”
“The fact that a high number of matches from European leagues are currently widely available on television has contributed to football’s increasing popularity in Japan,” the former Gamba Osaka, Red Bull Salzburg and Vissel Kobe defender added.
Miyamoto said that if football will continue to develop in Japan, the Blue Samurais could “win the World Cup in the upcoming 20 years”.
He is not excluding the possibility of coaching, but his long-term objective is to take on a position in sports management that would allow him to make “important decisions,” according to FIFA.
“As a captain of Japan I saw and learned many things on the pitch,” Miyamoto said. “Now I would like to put them into practice off it.”
Miyamoto is looking forward to the forthcoming tournaments that will be hosted in Brazil. “If we manage to qualify, I think our team could reach the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals. It is good that we are playing in the Confederations Cup this year, as it will be an excellent yardstick to see where we are at as a team, and in particular to assess the progress of our younger players.”