All or Nothing!
That's how you can describe today's game, in which the teams of Jubilo Iwata and Tokyo Verdi will face each other at Yamaha Stadium.
A final game for both teams, in the end one team will cheer and the other will be seen devastated.
But this is sport and especially football, in the end there can only be one winner. Today's last J.League relegation/promotion play-off match is once again such a game in which in the end all the efforts of a hard long season for a team will have been in vain.
Jubilo Iwata has gone through a tough year in the J1 and on the last match day in the game against the new and old champion Kawasaki Frontale they were on a good course to maintain the class. But in the end an own goal of their own captain made sure that this game too was lost and now they have to face the all-deciding final game.
Iwata's ranks also include football legend Shunsuke Nakamura, who used to play for Scottish Celtic Glasgow but also for Espanyol Barcelona.
With his 40 years of experience, he may be a great and decisive help in this game as well.
If Iwata get relegated down to J2, the year 2018 could have been his last season as a player, after along and successful time on various soccer grounds.
Tokyo Verdy, on the other hand, has a good run at the moment. The many-times Japanese champion and winner of the 1987 Asian Champions League hopes to return to the Japanese upper house after many years in the second division and perhaps return to his earlier successes.
The last big victory was the Emperors Cup win in 2005, and some fans will still have memories of this glorious day.
Tokyo Verdy finished 6th in the second league and just slipped into the promotion playoffs. In the first round, they defeated Omiya Ardija 1-0 in a away game in the second round Yokohama FC also on foreign soil with the same result. In the important game against Yokohama, both teams fought passionately until injury time, until Verdy finally scored the decisive goal in the 96th minute and gave the home side the death blow. Verdy knows what drama is Drama about just too well.
The decisive J.League relegation/promotion play-off match:
Of course, the bookmakers see Jubilo Iwata in the lead, but the Tokyo Verdy have proved over the last few weeks that they don't care about odds and that they gonna enter the pitch in order to win. If they can take that momentum with them into today's match against Iwata, Tokyo Verdy could have a great chance of winning again.
For both teams there is a lot at stake, the J2 league is highly competitive and the promotion mode makes it very difficult for the teams to get into the highest Japanese league J1.
So who will win at the end of the day when two former Japanese champions and Champions League winners compete to determine which team will be allowed to play in the highest division J1 next year and who will have to play in the second division?
The tension is high, in this exiting very last game for all or nothing.
Champagne or water? Cheers or disappointment are always close together in football and will once again stand hand in hand this afternoon.
頑張ってください Ganbatte kudasai!
(Japanese cheering, which can be translated like, „Hold on“ or „Do your best“)
Did you miss this week's articles about the end of the 2018 J-League season and the devastating moment Yokohama FC had to face after their last games against Jubilo Iwata? No problem, just check out the following links:
Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoy reading some news from the world of Japanese football. Looking forward to seeing you in the comments!