Eliminated by a short header by Belgium in the round of 16 of the 2018 edition (2-3), can Japan dream higher at the 2022 World Cup? Team, calendar and form, here is all you need to know about the Blue Samouraïs.
Japan’s squad for the 2022 World Cup
We finally know a lot of players from this Japanese team, including the three Ligue 1 representatives Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg), Junya Ito (Reims) and Takumi Minamino (Monaco). Former Marseillais Yuto Nagatomo and Hiroki Sakai will also be there, as will Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu and ex-Real Madrid nugget Take Kubo. How to do nice things?
Guardians: Eiji Kawashima (RC Strasbourg), Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Daniel Schmidt (Saint-Trond).
Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale), Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale), Ko Itakura (Borussia Monchengladbach), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal), Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Red Diamonds), Maya Yoshida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Ito (VfB Stuttgart).
Environments : Junya Ito (Reims), Ritsu Doan (Fribourg), Wataru Endo (Stuttgart), Hidemasa Morita (Sporting), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Daichi Kamada (Frankfurt), Take Kubo (Real Sociedad), Takumi Minamino (Monaco), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton), Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes), Yuki Soma (Nagoya Grampus).
Forwards: Daizen Maeda (Celtic Glasgow), Ayase Ueda (Cercle Bruges), Takuma Asano (Bochum), Shuto Machino (Shonan Bellmare).
Japan schedule (Group E)
- Wednesday November 23, 2 p.m., Germany – Japan (Day 1)
- Sunday November 27, 11 a.m., Japan – Costa Rica (Day 2)
- Thursday December 1, 8 p.m., Japan – Spain (3rd day)
The shape of Japan
Having managed to qualify by finishing ahead of Australia but behind Saudi Arabia in its qualifying group, Japan completed a campaign of friendly matches that was difficult to interpret with victories against Paraguay (4-1) and the United States. United (2-0), but also more embarrassing defeats against Tunisia (0-3) and Canada (1-2).
Things to know about Japan
Of the 26 players selected by coach Hajime Moriyasu, 22 have already played abroad, which proves that Japanese players are now exporting very well. The time when Hidetoshi Nakata was one of the few expatriates, in 2002, seems a long way off… The Bundesliga is particularly fond of the Japanese since 8 players on the list play in Germany, including the experienced Maya Yoshida and Daichi Kamada, excellent with the ‘Eintracht Frankfurt. Japan’s first game in Qatar pits it against the Mannschaft.
Japan’s chances at the 2022 World Cup
On paper, Japan presents itself with a most interesting squad, but the latest results are mixed and it remains difficult to assess the real level of this selection, especially in a strong group where Germany and Spain will start as favorites .
History of Japan at the World Cup: 7th participation; never made it past the round of 16.