Shinji Okazaki

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Shinji Okazaki
岡崎 慎司
Shinji okazaki.jpg
Personal information
Full name Shinji Okazaki[1]
Date of birth (1986-04-16) 16 April 1986 (age 29)
Place of birth Takarazuka, Hyōgo, Japan
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8 12 in)[2]
Playing position Striker
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 0 (0)
National team
2007–2008 Japan U23 14 (1)
2008– Japan 93 (43)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18 April 2015.
† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 11 June 2015

Shinji Okazaki (岡崎 慎司 Okazaki Shinji, born 16 April 1986) is a Japanese football player currently playing for Leicester City.

At club level, Okazaki is the most prolific Japanese player in Bundesliga history. Internationally, he is currently the top active Japan national team goalscorer and third all-time in team history with 43 goals.

Career[edit]

Shimizu S-Pulse[edit]

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 VfB Stuttgart of the German Bundesliga.[3]

VfB Stuttgart[edit]

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 at 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 05[edit]

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 City[edit]

On 26 June 2015, Okazaki moved to Premier League side Leicester City for a fee believed to be in the region of £7m, subject to obtaining a work permit.[12]

International career[edit]

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.[13] On 20 January 2009, he scored his first goal for Samurai Blue in the team's opening 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Yemen.[13]

In October 2009, Okazaki scored hat-tricks in consecutive matches as Japan beat Hong Kong and Togo 6–0 and 5–0 respectively.[13] He was named The World's Top Goal Scorer of 2009 by the IFFHS for his 15 goals with the national team.[14]

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.[13]

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.[15]

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.[13]

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.[16]

In June 2014, Okazaki was selected in Japan's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

Okazaki is currently the top active Japan national team goalscorer and third all-time in team history with 43 international goals.

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 15 July 2015[20][21]
Club Season League Cup1 League Cup2 Continental3 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Shimizu S-Pulse 2005 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 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 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 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career total 249 79 29 7 16 2 15 3 309 91

1Includes Emperor's Cup and DFB-Pokal.

2Includes J. League Cup.

3Includes UEFA Europa League.

National team[edit]

As of 16 June 2015[13]