Nishino has a dilemma of selecting between two of Japan’s most influential players
Akira Nishino must decide whether to start the game with Shinji Kagawa or Keisuke Honda when Japan take on Senegal in Ekaterinberg between the two surprise Group H leaders.
Nishino has to make the choice between two of Japan’s most famous exports, Kagawa or Honda. He started with Kagawa in the first game, but brought on Honda in the second half and both had an influence on the game.
How did Kagawa and Honda influence the match against Colombia?
It was expected that Honda was going to start Japan’s first game at the World Cup against Colombia, considering everything that was said prior to the match, and going by the first eleven’s Nishino had selected in the friendlies.
He however threw a spanner in the works, by naming Kagawa in the starting eleven. Kagawa went on to play an influential role in Japan’s win, he was involved in the first goal when Colombia had a man sent off for professional handball. Kagawa then coolly passed it into the middle of the net, luckily the keeper jumped before he give it a roll, it was likely that Kagawa give the Colombian keeper the eyes before plopping it in the net.
When Honda was called into action off the bench he replaced Kagawa as both occupy the same role and responsibility in the Japan team. He started by playing some neat passes, but the key moment for Honda was putting in a beautiful cross which Yuya Osako nodded home for the winner.
Kagawa in pole position for starting role
Because Japan played well in their opening game and managed to get a win, I think that it is likely that Nishino will stick with Kagawa. Everyone always says don’t change a winning side, and I really think that’s what Nishino will do.
Due to the fact that Japan played well and won, and Kagawa was a decent influence on the game by being involved in the first goal, this is why we think Kagawa will get the nod over Honda.
Japan need Kagawa and Honda to have key influence again to win
Kagawa and Honda are two of Japanese biggest stars, and have been two of their biggest players for years now, both are closer to the end of the career than the start, and this is most likely the last World Cup for the pair.
Japan need them to keep having a big influence on games for them to get out of the group, even though they won the first game against Colombia does not mean they are assured of getting to the next round because Group H has the potential for every team to take points of each other.
If Japan defeat Senegal tonight they will be into the last 16 where they will most likely face Belgium or England. Japan vs Senegal kicks off tonight at 11pm (Taiwan time).