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2022 FIFA World Cup Team Preview: Japan

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Japan World Cup Team Preview

Japan 

FIFA Ranking: 24
Manager: Hajime Moriyasu
Federation: AFC
Group: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica
Odds to win World Cup+25000, Caesars
Odds to win Group X: +1700, FanDuel Sportsbook
Odds to advance in Group X+350, Caesars

 

How did Japan qualify for the World Cup? 

After winning eight out of eight matches in the second round of the AFC qualifiers, Japan lost to two out of their next three and were in some trouble to qualify. Samurai Blue rallied with a crucial victory over Australia to finish second behind Saudi Arabia and earn an automatic berth. 

Who is Japan’s most important player? 

Daichi Kamada

Kamada is one of the few Japanese players that plays in Europe, getting minutes for German side Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. Thus far this season, Kamada has scored seven goals which ranks thirds in the Bundesliga. If Japan are able to advance out of Group E, Kamada will need to continue his goal scoring form. 

What are Japan’s strengths, weaknesses, style of play and form? 

Japan will play a 4-3-3 formation with pacey wingers and playing a very technical form of football. 

Japan’s World Cup experience is a plus, but their biggest strength is their technical ability. Japanese football is rooted in super-efficient dribbling and using pace on the outside to create dead-ball scoring opportunities. Japan has consistently been one of the best dead-ball teams in major international tournaments. This is a team that will have the belief they can win every match they play. 

Japan’s lack of physicality will cause issues with Germany and potentially Costa Rica. This team will also struggle to maintain much possession against Spain. Japan’s biggest weakness is probably the group they are in. This is not a weak team, but this is not an ideal group for them.

What is Japan’s World Cup Outlook?

Japan have qualified for the last six World Cups and made it out of the group stage in three of those tournaments. Historically Japan has always been a tough out and their coach was quoted recently saying they are targeting a Quarter Final trip. I just don’t see it this World Cup though as Japan is unlikely to get any points off of Germany and Spain, which will make it seemingly impossible for them to advance. 

Best Japan World Cup Bet 

Team Top Goal Scorer: Daichi Kamada (+500, DraftKings Sportsbook)

As mentioned above, Kamada is in good form for his club and is far and away the team’s top goal-scoring thread. We are getting 5 to 1 as there are rumors he might not start, which I am not buying considering the lack of attacking talent that was selected. 

Japan World Cup Roster

Goalkeepers: Shuichi Gonda, Daniel Schmidt, Eiji Kawashima.

Defenders: Miki Yamane, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Shogo Taniguchi, Ko Itakura, Hiroki Ito, Yuto Nagatomo.

Midfielders: Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita, Ao Tanaka, Gaku Shibasaki, Kaoru Mitoma, Daichi Kamada, Ritsu Doan, Junya Ito, Takumi Minamino, Takefusa Kubo, Yuki Soma.

Forwards: Daizen Maeda, Takuma Asano, Ayase Ueda, Shuto Machino.

Group A   |  Ecuador   Senegal   Netherlands  Qatar

Group B  |  Iran  Wales  USA  England 

Group C  |  Mexico  Saudi Arabia  Poland  Argentina 

Group D  |  Tunisia  Denmark  Australia  France

Group E  |  Japan   Germany   Costa Rica   Spain 

Group F  |  Croatia  Morocco  Canada  Belgium 

Group G  |  Cameroon  Switzerland  Serbia  Brazil

Group H  |  South Korea  Uruguay  Ghana  Portugal

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