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Shinji Okazaki (岡崎 慎司, Okazaki Shinji, born 16 April 1986) is a Japanese footballer who plays for Leicester City and the Japan national team as a forward.

Shinji Okazaki
Shinji okazaki.jpg
Personal information
Full name Shinji Okazaki[1]
Date of birth (1986-04-16) 16 April 1986 (age 31)
Place of birth Takarazuka, Hyōgo, Japan
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)[2]
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Leicester City
Number 20
Youth career
2002–2004 Takigawa Daini High School
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2010 Shimizu S-Pulse 121 (42)
2011–2013 VfB Stuttgart 63 (10)
2013–2015 1. FSV Mainz 05 65 (27)
2015– Leicester City 73 (12)
National team
2007–2008 Japan U23 14 (1)
2008– Japan 108 (50)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:46, 21 October 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 28 March 2017

Internationally, he is currently the top active Japan national team goalscorer and third all-time in team history with 50 goals. He won the Premier League with Leicester in 2016.

Contents

Club careerEdit

Shimizu S-PulseEdit

After graduating Takigawa Daini High School in 2004, Okazaki signed full professional terms with Shimizu S-Pulse the following year. In December 2005, he made his first J. League appearance as a substitute against Sanfrecce Hiroshima. On 15 April 2007, he scored his first professional goal against Kawasaki Frontale. Okazaki ended his first season as a first team player with three goals from 13 matches.

Okazaki scored ten times in 27 matches during the 2008 J. League season and also represented S-Pulse in the J. League Cup Final, where the team lost 2–0 to Oita Trinita. He continued his promising goalscoring in the 2009 and 2010 seasons and, in January 2011, was signed by German side VfB Stuttgart of the Bundesliga.[3]

VfB StuttgartEdit

 
Okazaki with the VfB Stuttgart in 2012

On 30 January 2011, Okazaki signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Stuttgart.[4] On 17 February 2011, clearance to play for the club was granted for Okazaki by FIFA.[5] He made his competitive debut for VfB on the same night in a Europa League match against Benfica. On 20 February 2011, Okazaki made his Bundesliga debut for VfB against Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Okazaki scored his first goal against Hannover 96, which he scored from outside the box.[6]

Okazaki came on as a second-half substitute for Stuttgart in their first game of the 2011–12 Bundesliga season against FC Schalke 04. His side were up 2–0 and Okazaki added a goal scoring from long range in the 90th minute, sealing a 3–0 win.[7] Okazaki's goal from a bicycle kick on 19 February 2012 in a Bundesliga match of VfB Stuttgart against Hannover 96 was selected Goal of the Month. After Yasuhiko Okudera in April 1978, Okazaki was the second player from Japan to win this award in Germany.[8]

Okazaki had a poor 2012–13 season, scoring only once in the Bundesliga. However, he scored his first goals in European competition with two goals against FC Steaua București in the Europa League.

1. FSV Mainz 05Edit

On 1 July 2013, Okazaki moved to 1. FSV Mainz 05.[9] He scored his first goal for Mainz on his debut in a 3–2 win against his former club Stuttgart on the opening matchday of the 2013–14 Bundesliga season.[10] At the end of the season he ended with 15 league goals.

Okazaki became the most prolific Japanese player in Bundesliga history on 13 September 2014, scoring his 27th and 28th league goals in Mainz's 3–1 win over Hertha Berlin.[11]

Leicester CityEdit

 
Okazaki against West Ham at the King Power Stadium on 17 April 2016

On 26 June 2015, Okazaki moved to Premier League side Leicester City for a fee believed to be in the region of £7 million, subject to obtaining a work permit.[12] He made his debut for the club on 8 August 2015 in Leicester City's 4–2 opening day win against Sunderland, and scored his first goal for the club the following week in a 2–1 win against West Ham United. On 19 December 2015, Okazaki scored the winner in a 3–2 win over Everton at Goodison Park, to ensure that Leicester City topped the table at Christmas.[13] On 10 January 2016, Okazaki scored Leicester's second goal in the FA Cup clash at White Hart Lane with Tottenham Hotspur despite drawing to a late Harry Kane penalty in the 90th minute. On 14 March 2016, Okazaki scored the winning goal in a league fixture against Newcastle United, a spectacular overhead strike that won Leicester City the game 1–0 and took them five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.[14] Okazaki went on to win the league that year after Spurs drew with Chelsea on 2 May 2016, thus becoming the second Japanese player to win the Premier League after Shinji Kagawa.[15]

His performances in the 2015–16 season earned him the Asian International Player of the Year award in December 2016.[16]

2016–17Edit

Okazaki scored twice in a 2–4 defeat to Chelsea in the third round of the 2016–17 EFL Cup on 20 September 2016.[17] He scored his first league goal of the season in a 3–1 win over Crystal Palace on 22 October 2016, earning him Man of the match and achieving an 84.8% pass success rate, more than any other Leicester player.[18] On 22 November 2016, Okazaki scored in a 2–1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League group stage, becoming the sixth Japanese player to score a Champions League goal and the first since Keisuke Honda in November 2013.[19] He finished the season with only three league goals.[20]

2017–18Edit

Okazaki was in goalscoring form at the start to the 2017–18 season, scoring four goals in six appearances for Leicester in all competitions.[21]

International careerEdit

After competing for the country's under-23 team at the 2008 Olympic Games in China, Okazaki made his full international debut for Japan against the United Arab Emirates in October 2008.[22] On 20 January 2009, he scored his first goal for Samurai Blue in the team's opening 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Yemen.[22]

In October 2009, Okazaki scored hat-tricks in consecutive matches as Japan beat Hong Kong and Togo 6–0 and 5–0 respectively.[22] He was named The World's Top Goal Scorer of 2009 by the IFFHS for his 15 goals with the national team.[23]

Okazaki was included in Japan's squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and appeared as a substitute in all four of the team's matches. He scored once in the final Group E match, a 3–1 defeat of Denmark, to send the Japanese into the second round.[22]

On 8 October 2010, Okazaki scored the only goal as Japan beat Argentina 1–0 in friendly match to record its first ever win over the 1978 and 1986 world champions.[24]

Okazaki scored his third international hat-trick in a 5–0 Group B win against Saudi Arabia at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. He then scored his kick in the semi-final shootout win over South Korea and played all 120 minutes of the final as Japan beat Australia to win the trophy for a fourth time.[22]

Okazaki finished as top goalscorer in the Asian section of qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with eight goals.

Okazaki scored twice at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, against Italy and Mexico respectively. However, Japan lost all three of its matches and was eliminated at the end of the group stage.[25]

In June 2014, Okazaki was selected in Japan's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[26] In the team's third group match, a 4–1 defeat to Colombia, he scored Samurai Blue's only goal with a header in the 45th minute.[27]

Okazaki was included in Japan's squad for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup and scored in a 4–0 defeat of Palestine during the group stage.[28]

Okazaki is currently the top active Japan national team goalscorer and third all-time in team history with 50 international goals.

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

As of 21 October 2017[29][30]
Club Season League League Cup1 League Cup2 Continental3 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Shimizu S-Pulse 2005 J. League Division 1 1 0 3 0 1 0 5 0
2006 7 0 3 0 2 0 12 0
2007 21 5 2 0 2 0 25 5
2008 27 10 2 1 5 0 34 11
2009 34 14 3 2 4 1 41 17
2010 31 13 4 2 2 1 37 16
Total 121 42 17 5 16 2 154 49
VfB Stuttgart 2010–11 Bundesliga 12 2 2 0 14 2
2011–12 26 7 3 0 29 7
2012–13 25 1 6 1 11 2 42 4
Total 63 10 9 1 13 2 85 13
1. FSV Mainz 05 2013–14 Bundesliga 33 15 2 0 35 15
2014–15 32 12 1 1 2 1 35 14
Total 65 27 3 1 2 1 70 29
Leicester City 2015–16 Premier League 36 5 2 1 1 0 0 0 39 6
2016–17 30 3 3 0 1 2 7 1 41 6
2017–18 7 4 0 0 1 1 0 0 8 5
Total 73 12 5 1 3 3 7 1 88 17
Career total 322 91 34 8 19 5 22 4 397 108

1Includes Emperor's Cup, DFB-Pokal, FA Cup and Community Shield.
2Includes J. League Cup and EFL Cup.
3Includes UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League.

InternationalEdit

As of 15 November 2016
National team Year Apps Goals
Japan U23
2007 7 0
2008 7 1
Total 14 1
Japan
2008 4 0
2009 16 15
2010 15 3
2011 14 8
2012 9 3
2013 14 7
2014 12 4
2015 14 7
2016 8 2
2017 2 1
Total 108 50

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list Japan's goal tally first.[31]

HonoursEdit

ClubEdit

Leicester City

InternationalEdit

Japan

IndividualEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of Players" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2010. p. 16. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "National Team Squad". jfa.or.jp. Japan Football Association. Retrieved 15 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Shinji Okazaki in Stuttgart". VfB Stuttgart. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  4. ^ "Shinji Okazaki signs for VfB". VfB Stuttgart. 30 January 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. 
  5. ^ "Clearance for Shinji Okazaki". VfB Stuttgart. 17 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Okazaki gets maiden Stuttgart goal". The Japan Times. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "VfB Stuttgart 3 – 0 Schalke 04". ESPN Soccernet. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Goal of the Month". VfB Stuttgart. 11 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Shinji Okazaki moves to Mainz". VfB Stuttgart. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Okazaki and Müller fire Mainz to victory". Bundesliga. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "Hertha Berlin 1–3 Mainz". ESPNFC. 13 September 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Shinji Okazaki Agrees Leicester City Deal". Leicester City. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  13. ^ "Shinji Okazaki Stars in Everton Win". 19 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  14. ^ "Leicester City 1–0 Newcastle United". BBC Sport. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "Okazaki in wonderland after Leicester’s Premier League triumph". The Japan Times. 4 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  16. ^ Okazaki: I’m thrilled to win Asian award, FIFA.com, 12 December 2016, retrieved 1 January 2017 
  17. ^ Rose, Gary. "Leicester City 2–4 Chelsea". BBC Sport. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 September 2016. 
  18. ^ Aimee Lewis (22 October 2016), Leicester City 3–1 Crystal Palace, BBC Sport, retrieved 9 January 2017 
  19. ^ Neil Johnston (22 November 2016), Leicester City 2–1 Club Brugge, BBC Sport, retrieved 14 October 2017 
  20. ^ James Sharpe (20 September 2017), Shinji Okazaki reveals secrets to Leicester City goal-scoring form, Leicester Mercury, retrieved 25 September 2017 
  21. ^ Rob Tanner (23 September 2017), Leicester City 2–3 Liverpool Verdict: Jamie Vardy misses penalty in another frustrating defeat in five-goal thriller, Leicester Mercury, retrieved 25 September 2017 
  22. ^ a b c d e "OKAZAKI Shinji". Japan National Football Team Database. 
  23. ^ "La IFFHS designa al japonés Shinji Okazaki mejor goleador de 2009" (in Spanish). Diario AS. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Japan beat Argentina for 1st time". Sydney Morning Herald. 9 October 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  25. ^ "Japan 1 Mexico 2". BBC Sport. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  26. ^ "Japan World Cup 2014 squad". The Telegraph. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  27. ^ "Japan 1–4 Colombia". BBC. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  28. ^ "Japan 4–0 Palestine: Defending champions open Asian Cup campaign with impressive win over newcomers in Group D". The Daily Mail. 13 January 2015. 
  29. ^ "Japan – Shinji Okazaki". Soccerway.com. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  30. ^ "Shinji Okazaki > Club matches". Worldfootball.net. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  31. ^ "Shinji Okazaki - Century of International Appearances". www.rsssf.com. 

External linksEdit