Japan entered the 2022 World Cup hoping to make a splash in Group E, and Hajime Moriyasu’s squad more than lived up to such a goal. The Samurai Blue won two matches outright, including a 2-1 victory over Germany on November 23, and never allowed more than one goal in a single game. Not only is Japan now in the Round of 16 for the fourth time since 2002, but they’re only one win away from their first-ever quarterfinals appearance!
Round of 16: Japan vs. Croatia
|Japan vs. Croatia||December 5, 2022||10 a.m.||Al Janoub Stadium|
Prediction: Japan vs. Croatia
Japan and Croatia have met in the World Cup before, with the Croats winning in 1998 and 2006. Can Japan exact some overdue revenge and advance to the quarterfinals? Given how inconsistent Croatia’s offense has been throughout the tournament, we believe Japan will pull off the upset and finally reach the quarterfinals!
How to watch the Japan World Cup team for free from anywhere
Group stage: Japan World Cup fixtures and match schedule
|Wed, Nov. 23||Germany vs. Japan (Winner: Japan, 2-1)||8 a.m.||Khalifa International|
|Sun, Nov. 27||Japan vs. Costa Rica (Winner: Costa Rica, 1-0)||5 a.m.||Ahmad Bin Ali|
|Thurs, Dec. 1||Spain vs. Japan (Winner: Japan, 2-1)||2 p.m.||Khalifa International|
Final 26-man Japan World Cup roster
|Goalkeeper||Eiji Kawashima||Strasbourg (FRA)||39||95|
|Goalkeeper||Shuichi Gonda||Shimizu S-Pulse (JPN)||33||33|
|Goalkeeper||Daniel Schmidt||Sint-Truiden (BEL)||30||11|
|Defender||Yuto Nagatomo||Tokyo (JPN)||36||137|
|Defender||Maya Yoshida||Schalke (GER)||121||12|
|Defender||Hiroki Sakai||Urawa Red Diamonds (JPN)||32||71|
|Defender||Takehiro Tomiyasu||Arsenal (ENG)||23||29|
|Defender||Yuta Nakayama||Huddersfield (ENG)||25||17|
|Defender||Miki Yamane||Kawasaki Frontale (JPN)||28||14|
|Defender||Shogo Taniguchi||Kawasaki Frontale (JPN)||31||13|
|Defender||Ko Itakura||Borussia Monchengladbach (GER)||25||12|
|Defender||Hiroki Ito||Stuttgart (GER)||23||5|
|Midfielder||Gaku Shibasaki||Leganes (SPA)||30||59|
|Midfielder||Wataru Endo||Stuttgart (GER)||29||43|
|Midfielder||Takumi Minamino||Monaco (FRA)||27||43|
|Midfielder||Junya Ito||Reims (FRA)||29||38|
|Midfielder||Ritsu Doan||Freiburg (GER)||24||28|
|Midfielder||Daichi Kamada||Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)||26||21|
|Midfielder||Takefusa Kubo||Real Sociedad (SPA)||21||19|
|Midfielder||Hidemasa Morita||Sporting (POR)||27||17|
|Midfielder||Ao Tanaka||Fortuna Dusseldorf (GER)||24||14|
|Midfielder||Kaoru Mitoma||Brighton (ENG)||25||9|
|Midfielder||Yuki Soma||Nagoya Grampus (JPN)||25||7|
|Forward||Takuma Asano||Bochum (GER)||27||36|
|Forward||Ayase Ueda||Club Brugge (BEL)||24||10|
Star players in the Japan World Cup team
One name above all: Wataru Endo, the star of Japan and also of Bundesliga team Stuttgart. His midfield tackles and charisma make him one of the top Samurai Blue’s top players—and hugely popular at home and abroad.
Who is Japan’s head coach?
The coach of Japan is Hajime Moriyasu, who has led the team since 2018. He tends to be rather conservative in his tactics but helped Sanfrecce Hiroshima win back-to-back J League titles in 2012 and 2013, and again in 2015. Will his tactics be enough against the mighty Germany and Spain in Group E?
Japan national team strengths & weaknesses
Let’s dive deeper into the strengths and weaknesses of the Samurai Blue!
Even if the team does not really have a strong center forward, Japan can count on its strong midfield, which can transition from defense to attack quickly. This is proved by the way Japan qualified for this competition: 10 out of the 12 goals were scored by midfielders. Japan can also count on charismatic leaders within the team that bring them together on and off the pitch.
Probably the lack of a strong forward player is the most evident weakness for Japan. Also, this year’s team is composed of veterans and debutants which may requite a little time to gel and find their strongest performances.
Japan World Cup 2022 odds
According to the bookies, Japan holds a very slim chance of winning the 2022 World Cup at +1400. Here are the latest 2022 FIFA World Cup odds for all major countries:
FAQ: Japan 2022 World Cup squad
How many times has Japan won the World Cup?
Japan has never won the World Cup.
How many times has Japan been in the World Cup?
At this year’s edition, Japan will make its seventh appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
How is Japan good at football?
Even if not as strong as other countries, Japan’s team can count on character and very good players. Despite being sorted in a tough group (with Germany and Spain), Japan will fight hard to get to the round of 16 as it happened during the 2018 World Cup, when the Samurai Blue were able to beat Colombia and move forward to the next stage.