In 2010, much hype was directed at a seemingly psychic octopus (which they named Paul, we don’t know why) who was able to guess the results of a huge percentage of Germany’s games in the World Cup during that year. Attempting to channel at least a small bit of the famous octopus’s prescience – the sports section at The Japan Times popped in Konami’s globally famous football game “Winning Eleven” – known as “Pro Evolution Soccer” worldwide – with a version particularly exclusive to Japan, a section of the game that sees the Samurai Blue in a World Cup-like tournament.
In the simulation, the journalists tried to go as close to reality as possible, utilizing Zaccheroni’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. They also picked the team’s current selected lineup to the World Cup and made intelligent assumptions on who will start the games. The first game against the Ivory Coast showed the Blues overcoming an early goal to win the match. Japanese fans will hope that this simulation would be a little bit “prophetic” in nature, although in truth, the team will need to play at their best in a group that really does not have any giants in it, only teams that will be eager to take advantage of a seemingly more benign draw. By the end of the group stage – when the whistle blows on Japan’s game against the group’s top seed Colombia on the 24th of June – only then will the Japanese fans see if their team moves on to the knockout stages, or if that will be the premature end of their journey.