Japan kick off their Copa America campaign

Japan start their Copa America campaign tomorrow with a match against Chile. Japan are participating in the Copa America as one of two invited teams, along with Qatar, as the South American continent needs to invite two teams each time to round the number of teams up to even numbers. 

Japan pick a squad with an eye on the Tokyo Olympics

Japan has picked a squad for the Copa America which firmly has one eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Japan has picked a young and inexperienced squad, and that is why Shinji Okazaki and Eiji Kawashima have likely been selected in the squad. They will be there to give the youngsters some much-needed tournament experience, and no doubt they will be a great support for the young guys in the camp.

A lot of news I have seen online has said that Real Madrid's recent signing Takefusa Kubo could be in Japan's starting line up for the match. We are excited to see Shoya Nakajima play in this tournament considering he was robbed off playing in the Asian Cup due to injury.

It is unclear what kind of impact Japan can make in this tournament without all their senior players present, but regardless of the outcome, it is excellent preparation for the Olympics and that was the intention behind accepting the invitation.

It would be mad if Japan won the whole competition, which they don't seem to have much chance of doing, which makes me wonder if an invited team has ever won the Copa America? I don't think any ever have.

Japan has a difficult group

OK, so most groups at the Copa America are difficult, but Japan has been handed a hard one in my opinion. Fair enough they missed out on being drawn with Argentina and Brazil, but in having Uruguay and Chile in their group, I would argue that it is just as difficult as having the other big two.

Uruguay just thumped Ecuador 4-0, this morning as I wrote this blog, and Chile has been excellent over recent years, where they have proven to be a nuisance for both Argentina and Brazil. Japan will have done excellently if they just manage to get out of the group, and that should be seen as a major success if it happens.

Japan will likely have more fans in the stadium that people would imagine, due to the fact Brazil is the country with the largest group of Japanese expats in the world, we hope they have a strong following because of this.

We predict that this Japan team will either do very well and surprise people or crumble against more experienced teams (due to Japan picking a young team). Whatever happens though, the experience for these players will be invaluable.   

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