The Japan national team is considered to be one of the best Asian teams. This is their sixth consecutive qualification in the World Cup tournament, which makes them an experienced team.
The Blue Samurais have a new coach since the beginning of April and things seem to have calmed down with their training. A small concern could be their defender, Hiroki Sakai, who recently suffered a knee ligament injury, but he should be fit to play.
Despite their World Cup team history, The Blue Samurais never made it past the group of 16, where they got twice, in 2002 and 2010, and finished both times on the 9th position. This proves their consistency, that was never affected by their humble results. The Japan national team won only 4 games in the history of the Wolrd Cup tournament. They won against Russia and Tunisia in 2002 and against Cameroon and Denmark in 2010.
Their first appearance in the World Cup was in 1998 when they lost all group matches and finished on the 31st position, which was their worst result. In the last tournament, in 2014, the Japan national team finished on the 29th position, due to their draw with Greece (0 – 0) in the group stage.
– Star players: Shinji Kagawa, Hiroki Sakai
– FootballCoin stars: Kagawa, Shinji (Dortmund) 4,024.96 seasonal points (Pro), Eiji Kawashima (Metz) 5,153.92 Seasonal points (Pro), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz) 4,723.76 seasonal points (Pro), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille) 7,154.40 seasonal points (Pro)
– Coach: Akira Nishino
– Group: H
– Group fixtures:
Tue June 19: Colombia – Japan, Saransk, 4pm
Sun June 24: Japan – Senegal, Ekaterinburg, 4pm
Thu June 28: Japan – Poland, Volgograd, 3pm
– Prediction: The team is confident about this year’s qualification, and might stand some chances to get to the group of 16.
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol);
Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers);
Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale);
Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz)
– World Cup history: Second round 2002, 2010
— サッカー日本代表 (@jfa_samuraiblue) June 6, 2018