Country Report – Japan

    A look at the country’s demographics, football history and its squad status prior to the Qatar World Cup 2022.

    Number of inhabitants: approx. 125 million.

    Continent: Asia

    Confederation: AFC

    National Football Association: JFA

    Number of members: 827,000 (0.6% of total population)

    International trophies won: 4x AFC Asian Cup

    Best World Cup result: Round of 16 in 2002, 2010 and 2018.

    Key Players

    In the past: Hidetoshi Nakata, Kazuyoshi Miura, Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa.

    Key current players: Yoshida, Tomiyasu, Minamino, Kamada, Ito.

    Coach, formation and possible lineup

    Coach: Hajime Moriyasu. (since 2018)

    Typical formation: 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3

    Possible lineup:

    • GK: Daniel Schmidt (Sint-Truiden)
    • LB: Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart)
    • RB: Hiroki Sakai (Urawa)
    • LCB: Maya Yoshida (Schalke 04)
    • RCB: Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal)
    • DM: Wataru Endo (Stuttgart)
    • DM: Hidemasa Morita (Sporting CP)
    • LW: Takumi Minamino (Monaco)
    • RW: Junya Ito (Reims)
    • ACM: Daichi Kamada (Frankfurt)
    • ST: Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic)

    Age Report

    Players aged 25 or under in the current lineup: 2

    Players aged 32 or over in the current lineup: 2

    There are 2 players in this lineup that will (most likely) be playing their last World Cup this year: Maya Yoshida and Hiroki Sakai.

    There are 2 players in this lineup that can play at least two more: Tomiyasu and Hiroki Ito.

    The remaining 7 players could play in one or two more World Cups.

    Youngest player: Takehiro Tomiyasu, born 5 November 1998 (23)

    Oldest player: Maya Yoshida, born 24 August 1988 (34)

    Average squad age: 27.9

    World Cup Qatar – Group E


    Wednesday 23 November Germany vs Japan

    Sunday 27 November Japan vs Costa Rica

    Thursday 1 December Japan vs Spain

    Our view:

    Japan did alright in their run to qualify for Qatar, preceded only by Saudi Arabia in their group. It’s a very solid squad consisting of players from top leagues in Europe, combining youthful talents with experienced players. Very tough to play and score against. But they have the misfortune of having been placed into a group with powerhouses Spain and Germany. If those teams should miss an opportunity though, Japan will be sure to take advantage.

    Prediction: Group stage exit

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