Japan at the World Cup


The World Cup draw took place last week and while there are of course many controversial issues relating to Qatar hosting the tournament, I want to put that to the side for now and look at Japan and how the Samurai Blue could perform. 

Assuming now it will be Moriyasu who will lead his country to the 2022 World Cup he will have to find a way to get the best from his side that have at times looked static. This is a side that after all ended the qualifying campaign with a draw to Vietnam and lost to Saudi Arabia and Oman. 

The most obvious place to start is up front as Japan scored just 12 goals in their ten qualifiers. The side do have top attacking talent though and if they can utilise them they'd become a real threat. 

The well-known talent such as Minamino of Liverpool, Asano of Bochum and even Ōsako now of Vissel Kobe can offer experience at the front with all three capable of scoring. This is not to forget the talent such as Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda both of Celtic. They similarly have the youngster Takefusa Kubo who at 21-years-old could really burst on the scene at this World Cup. 

Another player who looks to be stepping it up is Junya Ito the Genk striker who scored and got himself an assist as his side run out 5-0 winners at the weekend. He won his side a penalty on his return from the national side, while he scored his seventh of the season. He has also picked up 13 assists this season.

This shows they have talent to worry sides and in Group E with Germany, Spain and New Zealand or Costa Rica they will be looking to get the most from their best talent. 

This is what FC Tokyo defender Yuto Nagatomo (formally of Inter Milan) has to say on the draw;

You can play against the best opponents on the world's best stage called the World Cup. Although the powerful nations have almost fought, I have never played Spain or Germany in my 134 games (for Japan). I will do anything for my beloved World Cup. I am even more motivated to stand on the stage. I think (the opponents in the group) are real candidates for the World Cup, and it's hard for us to have such an experience to be able to compete seriously with such teams.


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