Friday, September 27, 2013

27 September 1967 - Domo Arigato, Kunishige Kamamoto

On 27 September 1967, Japan opened their Olympic qualification campaign with a record 15-0 win over the Philippines.

Japan had advanced farther than any other Asian team at the 1964 tournament, reaching the quarterfinals before losing to eventual runners-up Czechoslovakia, and were expected to reach the 1968 competition with little difficulty. But few could have expected just how easy their first qualifier would be.

Playing against the Philippines in Tokyo, Japan took the lead with a 4th-minute goal from Ryuichi Sugiyama and never looked back. Their most prolific scorer of the day was 23-year old Yanmar Diesel striker Kunishige Kamamoto (pictured), who provided six goals (15', 16', 26', 43', 64', 89'), while Teruki Miyamoto added four (20', 30', 40', 46'). The other four came from Tokutatsu Ojiro (5'), Tadashi Watanabe (63'), Sugiyama (75'), and Yasayuki Kuwahara (78'). The 15-0 scoreline remains the record margin of victory for Japan and margin of defeat for the Philippines.

The result was a sign of things to come for the Japanese, who topped their qualification group. At the Olympics in Mexico, they advanced to the bronze-medal match, where they beat the hosts 2-0. Both goals came from Kamamoto, who went on to become Japan's all-time leading scorer.

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