Shinji Okazaki

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Shinji Okazaki
JAP-POL (4) (cropped).jpg
Okazaki lining up for Japan at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Shinji Okazaki[1]
Date of birth (1986-04-16) 16 April 1986 (age 34)[2]
Place of birth Takarazuka, Hyōgo, Japan
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)[3]
Position(s) Forward
Club information
Current team
Huesca
Number 12
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 Mainz 05 65 (27)
2015–2019 Leicester City 114 (14)
2019 Málaga 0 (0)
2019– Huesca 57 (13)
National team
2007–2008 Japan U23 14 (1)
2008– Japan 119 (50)
Honours
Representing  Japan
Men's football
AFC Asian Cup
Winner 2011 Qatar
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 21 February 2021 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 24 June 2019

Shinji Okazaki (岡崎 慎司, Okazaki Shinji, born 16 April 1986) is a Japanese professional footballer who plays as a forward or attacking midfielder for La Liga club Huesca and the Japan national team.

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

Club 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 German side VfB Stuttgart of the Bundesliga.[4]

VfB Stuttgart[edit]

Okazaki with the VfB Stuttgart in 2012

On 30 January 2011, Okazaki signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Stuttgart.[5] On 17 February 2011, clearance to play for the club was granted for Okazaki by FIFA.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.

Mainz 05[edit]

On 1 July 2013, Okazaki moved to 1. FSV Mainz 05.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

Leicester City[edit]

2015–16[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[15] Okazaki went on to win the league that year thus becoming the second Japanese player to win the Premier League after Shinji Kagawa.[16]

His performances in the 2015–16 season earned him the Asian International Player of the Year award in December 2016.[17]

2016–17[edit]

Okazaki scored twice in a 2–4 defeat to Chelsea in the third round of the 2016–17 EFL Cup on 20 September 2016.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] He finished the season with only three league goals.[21]

2017–2019[edit]

Okazaki was in goalscoring form at the start to the 2017–18 season, scoring four goals in six appearances for Leicester in all competitions.[22] He was released by Leicester at the end of the 2018–19 season.[23]

Málaga[edit]

On 30 July 2019, Okazaki signed a one-year contract with Málaga CF.[24][25] However, Málaga canceled its contract with Okazaki after just 34 days, since the team was unable to register him as his wage demands exceeded its maximum budget spend as permitted by the league.[26]

Huesca[edit]

On 4 September 2019, the free agent Okazaki signed a one-year contract with Segunda División side Huesca.[27] On 8 September 2019, he made his debut for Huesca as a substitute.

International career[edit]

Okazaki with Japan at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

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.[28] On 20 January 2009, he scored his first goal for Samurai Blue in the team's opening 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualifier against Yemen.[28]

In October 2009, Okazaki scored hat-tricks in consecutive matches as Japan beat Hong Kong and Togo 6–0 and 5–0 respectively.[28] He was named The World's Top Goal Scorer of 2009 by the IFFHS for his 15 goals with the national team.[29] 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.[28]

On 8 October 2010, Okazaki scored as Japan beat Argentina 1–0 in friendly match to record its first ever win over the 1978 and 1986 world champions.[30]

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.[28]

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.[31]

In June 2014, Okazaki was selected in Japan's squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.[32] 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.[33]

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.[34]

In March 2016 Okazaki was presented with a commemorative shirt with 100 on the back in a presentation to celebrate his 100th international appearance for Japan.[35]

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

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of 13 February 2020[36][37]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
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
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 39 6
2016–17 30 3 3 0 1 2 7 1 41 6
2017–18 27 6 3 0 2 1 32 7
2018–19 21 0 1 0 3 0 25 0
Total 114 14 9 1 7 3 7 1 137 19
Huesca 2019–20 Segunda División 37 12 1 0 38 12
2020–21 La Liga 19 1 1 0 20 1
Total 56 13 2 0 0 0 0 0 58 13
Career total 420 106 40 8 23 5 22 4 502 123

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

International[edit]

As of 24 June 2019[38]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Japan 2008 4 0
2009 16 15
2010 15 3
2011 14 8
2012 9 3
2013 14 7
2014 13 4
2015 13 7
2016 8 2
2017 5 1
2018 5 0
2019 3 0
Total 119 50
Scores and results list Japan's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Okazaki goal.[39]
List of international goals scored by Shinji Okazaki
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 20 January 2009 Umakana Yokana Stadium, Kumamoto, Japan  Yemen 1–0 2–1 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification [1]
2 4 February 2009 National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan  Finland 1–0 5–1 Friendly [2]
3 2–0
4 27 May 2009 Nagai Stadium, Osaka, Japan  Chile 1–0 4–0 2009 Kirin Cup [3]
5 2–0
6 31 May 2009 National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan  Belgium 3–0 4–0 [4]
7 6 June 2009 Pakhtakor Markaziy Stadium, Tashkent, Uzbekistan  Uzbekistan 1–0 1–0 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification [5]
8 9 September 2009 Stadion Galgenwaard, Utrecht, Netherlands  Ghana 3–3 4–3 Friendly [6]
9 8 October 2009 IAI Stadium Nihondaira, Shizuoka, Japan  Hong Kong 1–0 6–0 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification [7]
10 5–0
11 6–0
12 14 October 2009 Miyagi Stadium, Miyagi, Japan  Togo 1–0 5–0 Friendly [8]
13 2–0
14 4–0
15 18 November 2009 Hong Kong Stadium, So Kon Po, Hong Kong  Hong Kong 4–0 4–0 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification [9]
16 3 March 2010 Toyota Stadium, Toyota, Japan  Bahrain 2–0 2–0 [10]
17 24 June 2010 Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg, South Africa  Denmark 3–1 3–1 2010 FIFA World Cup [11]
18 8 October 2010 Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan  Argentina 1–0 1–0 Friendly [12]
19 17 January 2011 Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar  Saudi Arabia 1–0 5–0 2011 AFC Asian Cup [13]
20 2–0
21 5–0
22 6 September 2011 Pakhtakor Markaziy Stadium, Tashkent, Uzbekistan  Uzbekistan 1–1 1–1 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification [14]
23 11 October 2011 Nagai Stadium, Osaka, Japan  Tajikistan 2–0 8–0 [15]
24 8–0
25 11 November 2011 Pamir Stadium, Dushanbe, Tajikistan  Tajikistan 2–0 4–0 [16]
26 4–0
27 23 May 2012 Shizuoka Stadium, Shizuoka, Japan  Azerbaijan 2–0 2–0 Friendly [17]
28 3 June 2012 Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan  Oman 3–0 3–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification [18]
29 14 November 2012 Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Muscat, Oman  Oman 2–1 2–1 [19]
30 6 February 2013 Kobe City Misaki Park Stadium, Kobe, Japan  Latvia 1–0 3–0 Friendly [20]
31 3–0
32 22 March 2013 Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar  Canada 1–0 2–1 [21]
33 11 June 2013 Grand Hamad Stadium, Doha Qatar  Iraq 1–0 1–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification [22]
34 19 June 2013 Itaipava Arena Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil  Italy 3–3 3–4 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup [23]
35 22 June 2013 Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil  Mexico 1–2 1–2 [24]
36 19 November 2013 King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels, Belgium  Belgium 3–1 3–2 Friendly [25]
37 5 March 2014 National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan  New Zealand 1–0 4–2 [26]
38 4–0
39 24 June 2014 Arena Pantanal, Cuiabá, Brazil  Colombia 1–1 1–4 2014 FIFA World Cup [27]
40 18 November 2014 Nagai Stadium, Osaka, Japan  Australia 2–0 2–1 Friendly [28]
41 12 January 2015 Newcastle Stadium, Newcastle, Australia  Palestine 2–0 4–0 2015 AFC Asian Cup [29]
42 27 March 2015 Ōita Bank Dome, Ōita, Japan  Tunisia 1–0 2–0 Friendly [30]
43 31 March 2015 Ajinomoto Stadium, Chōfu, Japan  Uzbekistan 2–0 5–1 [31]
44 11 June 2015 Nissan Stadium, Yokohama, Japan  Iraq 3–0 4–0 [32]
45 8 September 2015 Azadi Stadium, Tehran, Iran  Afghanistan 4–0 6–0 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification [33]
46 5–0
47 8 October 2015 Al-Seeb Stadium, Al-Seeb, Oman  Syria 2–0 3–0 [34]
48 24 March 2016 Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan  Afghanistan 1–0 5–0 [35]
49 3 June 2016 Toyota Stadium, Toyota, Japan  Bulgaria 1–0 7–2 2016 Kirin Cup [36]
50 28 March 2017 Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama, Japan  Thailand 2–0 4–0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification

[37]

Honours[edit]

Leicester City

SD Huesca

Japan

Individual

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Updated squads for 2017/18 Premier League confirmed". Premier League. 2 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  2. ^ "FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010: List of players: Japan" (PDF). FIFA. 4 June 2010. p. 16. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  3. ^ "National Team Squad". jfa.or.jp. Japan Football Association. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Shinji Okazaki in Stuttgart". VfB Stuttgart. 30 January 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Shinji Okazaki signs for VfB". VfB Stuttgart. 30 January 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Clearance for Shinji Okazaki". VfB Stuttgart. 17 February 2011. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Okazaki gets maiden Stuttgart goal". The Japan Times. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  8. ^ "VfB Stuttgart 3 – 0 Schalke 04". ESPN Soccernet. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Goal of the Month". VfB Stuttgart. 11 March 2012. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Shinji Okazaki moves to Mainz". VfB Stuttgart. 25 June 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Okazaki and Müller fire Mainz to victory". Bundesliga. 11 August 2013. Archived from the original on 22 October 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Hertha Berlin 1–3 Mainz". ESPNFC. 13 September 2014. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  13. ^ "Shinji Okazaki Agrees Leicester City Deal". Leicester City. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  14. ^ "Shinji Okazaki Stars in Everton Win". 19 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Leicester City 1–0 Newcastle United". BBC Sport. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Okazaki in wonderland after Leicester's Premier League triumph". The Japan Times. 4 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  17. ^ Okazaki: I'm thrilled to win Asian award, FIFA, 12 December 2016, retrieved 1 January 2017
  18. ^ Rose, Gary. "Leicester City 2–4 Chelsea". BBC Sport. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  19. ^ Aimee Lewis (22 October 2016), Leicester City 3–1 Crystal Palace, BBC Sport, retrieved 9 January 2017
  20. ^ Neil Johnston (22 November 2016), Leicester City 2–1 Club Brugge, BBC Sport, retrieved 14 October 2017
  21. ^ James Sharpe (20 September 2017), "Shinji Okazaki reveals secrets to Leicester City goal-scoring form", Leicester Mercury, retrieved 25 September 2017
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ "Leicester's Christian Fuchs signs new deal as Danny Simpson & Shinji Okazaki leave". BBC Sport. 8 May 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  24. ^ "Malaga sign former Leicester striker Shinzi Okazaki". Football Espana. 30 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Okazaki signs one-year deal at Malaga". Fox Sports Asia. 30 July 2019.
  26. ^ "Shinji Okazaki leaves Malaga without playing". Football Espana. 3 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Okazaki, la guinda al ataque de la SD Huesca" [Okazaki, the cherry on SD Huesca's attack]. SD Huesca's official website (in Spanish). 4 September 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  28. ^ a b c d e "OKAZAKI Shinji". Japan National Football Team Database. Archived from the original on 22 September 2013.
  29. ^ "La IFFHS designa al japonés Shinji Okazaki mejor goleador de 2009" (in Spanish). Diario AS. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  30. ^ "Japan beat Argentina for 1st time". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 October 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  31. ^ "Japan 1 Mexico 2". BBC Sport. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  32. ^ "Japan World Cup 2014 squad". The Telegraph. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  33. ^ "Japan 1–4 Colombia". BBC. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  34. ^ "Japan opens Asian Cup with 4-0 win over Palestine in Group D". USA Today. 12 January 2015.
  35. ^ "SAMURAI BLUE beat Syria 5–0 to top group in FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2's last match –".
  36. ^ "Japan – Shinji Okazaki". Soccerway. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  37. ^ "Shinji Okazaki > Club matches". Worldfootball.net. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  38. ^ "Shinji Okazaki – Century of International Appearances". Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  39. ^ "Shinji Okazaki – Century of International Appearances". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.
  40. ^ "Shinji Okazaki: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  41. ^ "Leicester City favourite clinches last-minute title with new club". LeicestershireLive. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  42. ^ "FORMER RESULTS". IFFHS.de. Retrieved 4 December 2018.

External links[edit]