Japan’s squad for the 2022 World Cup has been announced, with manager Hajime Moriyasu saying he opted for players with “burning ambition” over experience in the final this month.
Japan will face Germany, Costa Rica and Spain in Group E of the Qatar World Cup, having booked their place at the showpiece event in Qatar relatively comfortably.
Japan are now an old hand: this is their seventh consecutive World Cup final.
The real goal in Qatar, however, is to reach the knockout stages for the fourth time, after the round of 16 in 2002, 2010 and 2018. They were placed in a tough group with Germany, Spain and Costa Rica, though there is quiet confidence that this talented team of Samurai Blue has what it takes.
During qualifying, the Samurai Blue learned, once again, that they have it too easy in Asia, with some tough tests to prepare them to face the greats. There was a surprise home loss to Oman and a defeat in Saudi Arabia, but qualification was rarely in doubt. The real concern came in the Kirin Cup in June, when Japan lost 3-0 at home to Tunisia.
There’s more strength in depth now, even before you get to the high-quality exports spread across Germany, Spain, France and England, and not little experience at the rear. When in the groove, the Japanese hold the ball well and can get through any defence.
However, Japan may lack cruelty. Japan’s approach play may be magnificent, but they miss too many chances – 12 goals in 10 games in the last qualifying round testify to that. Moreover, manager Hajime Moriyasu is seen as too willing to play with the handbrake.
Their style of football is likely to be considered everyone’s second favorite team, however, with an easy on the eye style and players in most major European leagues – there will be plenty of club supporters to cheer on their favourites.
A first-ever quarter-final is certainly the team, but, while an upset against a European giant is possible – Japan have more experience in the Middle East than most – the group stage may be their limit. It would also continue the pattern in their six World Cup appearances so far, alternating groups and Round of 16.
Japan squad for the 2022 World Cup
Japan squad for the 2022 World Cup: The squad for the tournament in Qatar
- GK: Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg)
- GK: Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse)
- GK: Daniel Schmidt (Saint-Truiden)
- Defender: Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal)
- Defender: Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale)
- Defender: Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo)
- Defender: Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale)
- Defender: Maya Yoshida (Schalke 04)
- Defender: Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Red Diamonds)
- Defender: Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart)
- Defender: Ko Itakura (Borussia Monchengladbach)
- Midfielder: Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes)
- FM: Takumi Minamino (Monaco)
- FM: Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad)
- MF: Hidemasa Morita (Sporting CP)
- FM: Wataru Endo (Stuttgart)
- Midfielder: Junya Ito (Reims)
- MF: Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf)
- FM: Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton)
- FM: Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt)
- MF: Ritsu Doan (Fribourg)
- MF: Yuki Soma (Nagoya Grampus)
- AT: Ayase Ueda (Circle Brugge)
- AT: Takuma Asano (Bochum)
- AT: Daizen Maeda (Celtic)
- AT: Shuto Machino (Shonan Bellmare)
Who is Japan’s coach for the 2022 World Cup?
Hajime Moriyasu has led the national team since 2018, having led Sanfrecce Hiroshima to three J.League titles. He is often criticized for being cautious – the Olympic team’s failure to reach the final last year on home soil being cited as an example – but a more conservative approach could work well against Spain and Germany.
Japan’s star player
Who is the best Japanese player?
Defensive midfielder Wataru Endo is rocking Japan. In each of the last two seasons, the 29-year-old has made more tackles in the Bundesliga than any other player, and his leadership qualities have earned him the Stuttgart armband – unusual for an Asian player in either league. European majors. If Endo plays well, Japan plays well.
How many players is Japan allowed to bring to the 2022 World Cup?
National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic – while the Last year’s Copa America allowed teams of 28 players.
It has now been announced that 26-man squads will return for the Qatar World Cup, an extension of the usual 23-man squads.