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Group H - Japan Team Review

Started by FastGoal, Jun 05, 2018, 06:04 PM

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FastGoal

Jun 05, 2018, 06:04 PM Last Edit: Jun 05, 2018, 06:15 PM by FastGoal
Japan


FIFA World Ranking: 60
Qualifying Average Goals Per Match: 2.44
Qualifying Average Goals Against Per Match: 0.39
Qualifying Top Scorer: Keisuke Honda (7)
World Cup Best Performance: Last 16 (2002 &2010)

Group H Opponents: Colombia, Poland and Senegal


The Manager: Akiro Nishino
This was supposed to be Vahid Halilhodzic, but having steered the Japanese side through qualifying, the successful Bosnian coach was promptly relieved of his duties in April. A strange decision only two months before the tournament.

The man to step into the breach is former technical director Nishino. Well decorated as a manager in the J-League, he is also experienced at international level having taken charge of the Under-20, Under-23 and Olympic sides. That Olympic squad managed to pull off a shock when beating a talented Brazil side and Nishino will no doubt be keen to mastermind something similar here.

He wont have had all that much time to implement his ideas, but Nishino likely won't veer too far from the hard working, high energy style which typifies the Japanese game.



The Squad:
The experienced Eiji Kawashima is now a veteran of two World Cups, and whilst he is no longer a first choice for club side Metz, he will take his place in goal here.

Hiroki Sakai of Marseille and Southampton's Maya Yoshida provide a good dose of quality in the back four. As the defensive organiser, the role of Yoshida will be particularly important, with likely centre back partner Gen Shōji being extremely inexperienced at this sort of level.

Makoto Hasebe is probably the most reliable player in the line-up. He captains the side and keeps everything together in the middle of the park.

Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and Genki Haruguchi are the men charged with creating the chances for Leicester City frontman Shinji Okazaki.


Star Man: Keisuke Honda
He may be on the wane a little now and playing his football in the Mexican League, but the former AC Milan man was probably the most talented Japanese footballer of his generation and hasn't lost his touch quite yet. In a side which favours industry over inspiration, their key attacking moments are likely to come from an individual moment of brilliance. He may not do it with quite the regularity as he once did, but it is still Honda who remains the man most likely for Japan. Particularly dangerous from set pieces, his match winning ability should still make him one of the first names on the team sheet.


Outlook:
With something of a managerial shambles in the lead up to the tournament, and a new coach who looks set to alter the personnel at a number of key positions, this looks like a far from settled Japanese squad. They will run and chase as they always do but look to have the least attacking threat of the sides in the group as well as inexperience in key defensive positions. Japan look booked for fourth spot here.


Group H Prediction: 4th


FastGoal

Japan


FIFA World Ranking: 60
Qualifying Average Goals Per Match: 2.44
Qualifying Average Goals Against Per Match: 0.39
Qualifying Top Scorer: Keisuke Honda (7)
World Cup Best Performance: Last 16 (2002 &2010)

Group H Opponents: Colombia, Poland and Senegal


The Manager: Akiro Nishino
This was supposed to be Vahid Halilhodzic, but having steered the Japanese side through qualifying, the successful Bosnian coach was promptly relieved of his duties in April. A strange decision only two months before the tournament.

The man to step into the breach is former technical director Nishino. Well decorated as a manager in the J-League, he is also experienced at international level having taken charge of the Under-20, Under-23 and Olympic sides. That Olympic squad managed to pull off a shock when beating a talented Brazil side and Nishino will no doubt be keen to mastermind something similar here.

He wont have had all that much time to implement his ideas, but Nishino likely won't veer too far from the hard working, high energy style which typifies the Japanese game.



The Squad:
The experienced Eiji Kawashima is now a veteran of two World Cups, and whilst he is no longer a first choice for club side Metz, he will take his place in goal here.

Hiroki Sakai of Marseille and Southampton's Maya Yoshida provide a good dose of quality in the back four. As the defensive organiser, the role of Yoshida will be particularly important, with likely centre back partner Gen Shōji being extremely inexperienced at this sort of level.

Makoto Hasebe is probably the most reliable player in the line-up. He captains the side and keeps everything together in the middle of the park.

Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and Genki Haruguchi are the men charged with creating the chances for Leicester City frontman Shinji Okazaki.


Star Man: Keisuke Honda
He may be on the wane a little now and playing his football in the Mexican League, but the former AC Milan man was probably the most talented Japanese footballer of his generation and hasn't lost his touch quite yet. In a side which favours industry over inspiration, their key attacking moments are likely to come from an individual moment of brilliance. He may not do it with quite the regularity as he once did, but it is still Honda who remains the man most likely for Japan. Particularly dangerous from set pieces, his match winning ability should still make him one of the first names on the team sheet.


Outlook:
With something of a managerial shambles in the lead up to the tournament, and a new coach who looks set to alter the personnel at a number of key positions, this looks like a far from settled Japanese squad. They will run and chase as they always do but look to have the least attacking threat of the sides in the group as well as inexperience in key defensive positions. Japan look booked for fourth spot here.


Group H Prediction: 4th


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