For anyone who’s still struggling to accept Japan’s elimination from the World Cup at the group stage, we’ve got a little video clip here to brighten your mood. While it was originally broadcast on New Year’s Eve half a year ago, it features two of Japan’s top football athletes finding themselves in an amusing situation with none of the stress from the World Cup.

How would you like to see international stars Shinji Kagawa and Hiroshi Kiyotake taking on 55 elementary school kids at once?

The clip is from a sports-variety TV special called KYOKUGEN 2013 that was broadcast on New Year’s Eve last year. Legendary actor Beat Takeshi hosts the special, in which top Japanese athletes push their limits in specially-designed athletic challenges. World superstar Lionel Messi even gets in on some of the fun with an accuracy kick battle versus Japan’s national team player Yoichiro Kakitani!

▼The impressive roster of athletes who participated in the special


▼Here’s the Kagawa/Kiyotake promotional image


For the Kagawa/Kiyotake segment of the special, Japan’s “golden combination” faced an unusual challenge–they had to team up to score a goal against 55 football-playing elementary school students! 

Though they need no introduction, the video clip begins with a background briefer about Shinji Kagawa (香川真司), Japan’s star attacking midfielder who plays for Manchester United in the English Premier League, and Hiroshi Kiyotake (清武弘嗣), also an attacking midfielder who plays for FC Nuernberg in Germany.

The camera then switches to a close-up of the two briefly discussing strategy for the upcoming challenge. It’s nice to see them looking so relaxed here compared to their recent run on the international stage. The clip then moves onto their “warm-up match” against 33 kids (beginning at 2:00 in the video). Even so, they easily make their way up the field and score a goal.

Next, it’s time for their ultimate challenge against 55 kids–10 forwards, 20 midfielders, 20 defenders, and 5 goalkeepers! Will they be able to score as easily this time around?

The action starts at 6:00:


▼The challenge begins!


Kagawa and Kiyotake show no mercy on the kids, who undoubtedly appreciate being taken seriously. The duo deftly pass the ball to each other as they make their way up the pitch.


▼There’s barely any more room for them to move!


▼Those goalies must be either quaking in fear or excitement as two world-class athletes approach!


As you could probably predict, the two still have no problem scoring a goal in minimal time. Of course, the kids were probably starry-eyed even after being beaten by two national idols. What did they have to say when the contest was over?

“One more time! Let’s do it one more time, pleeeeease!”


When a staff member pointed out that a future star might be among the 55 children on the pitch, Kagawa replied, “We’ll be waiting for him.”

Here’s hoping to the future success of Japan’s national football team!


Sources/Images: DailymotionKYOKUGEN 2013 (TBS)