JAPAN: 2022 WORLD CUP CAMPAIGN EXAMINED

Asian football powerhouse Japan were one of the teams given a free pass into the second round of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) section.

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12 teams contested the first round via the popular home and away leg. At the end of proceedings, six teams emerged to join Japan and the other 33 teams drawn bye into the second round. The 40 teams at this stage of the qualifiers were then drawn into eight groups of five teams each.

LIVERPOOL FANS SLAM KLOPP FOR DECISION

Several Liverpool fans were not happy with the team selection from Jurgen Klopp during last night’s league encounter with Burnley at home. The Liverpool fans complained about the omission of Japan national team player Takumi Minamino from the XI that started the Burnley game at Anfield last night. The Reds faithfuls wanted the petite Japan international attacker to start the game against the Clarets but they didn’t get their wish despite the fact that the Liverpool boss made several changes into the starting line-up with the likes of XerdanShaqiri, DivockOrigi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming into the XI.


Ahead of the game, Liverpool had gone four matches without a win after the Premier League encounters with West Brom, Newcastle United, Southampton and Manchester United. Liverpool picked up three points from those four games and that saw them drop to fourth position and six points off the summitpresently occupied by arch rivals Manchester United.

JAPAN UNBEATEN RUN ENDED BY MEXICO

 

Former Asian champions Japan had gone three games without a single defeat on the international friendly scene before they faced Gold Cup champions Mexico in their last game as far as the just concluded November international break was concerned. Japan and Mexico faced off last week Tuesday at the Liebenauer Stadium in Graz, Austria.


Japan came into that friendly game on the back of a three-game unbeaten run, while opponents Mexico have not tasted defeat on the international friendly stage since the thumping 4-0 loss to Argentina last year.

Japan to Play Friendly with Cameroon

 

Asian superpower in football, Japan is scheduled to play Cameroon in a friendly next month. Like all sporting activities, this match too will be played in a bio-bubble without any spectators due to precautions being taken as a result of the Corona virus pandemic.


Japan goes into this match at the back of 4 wins in their last 5 international outings. Before international football was halted due to the pandemic, Japan had won all their 4 matches in the FIFA World Cup Asian qualifying matches. They got the better of Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Myanmar last year. Each of those wins was achieved in convincing fashion. Scoring 13 goals in the 4 matches the Japanese did not concede a single goal. The most resounding victory was against Mongolia in October, a 6-0 scoreline.

JAPAN PROGRESS IN U17 TOURNAMENT

Japan progressed to the round of 16 of the FIFA U17 World Cup with a 1-0 defeat of African nation Senegal. The match which was characterized by a flurry of chances saw Senegal rest their key players after securing qualification with two wins in a row.


The Japanese were on the offensive and were in control of the game in the opening stages testing the opposition stopper from range. The changes to the team affected Senegal who could not create many opportunities to get a foothold on the game.

KAGAWA LEAVES BORUSSIA DORTMUND FOR SPAIN

Japan international Shinji Kagawa has joined Spanish division two outfit Real Zaragoza according to a statement by Borussia Dortmund.  Kagawa had struggled for playing time last season under manager Lucien Favre and spent the second half of the season on loan at Turkish outfit Besiktas.

Kagawa has enjoyed a starring career after breaking through with Borussia Dortmund in 2010, the Japanese won back to back Bundesliga titles. He earned a dream move to Manchester United in 2012 but failed to truly express his abilities at the club.

EVERTON AFTER FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED STAR

English Premier League side Everton is reported to be interested in Japan international Shingi Kagawa. The 30-year-old has become surplus to requirements at Borussia Dortmund with the player spending the second half of the season at Turkish outfit Besiktas.

Kagawa is still highly rated in England after his mix spell at Manchester United. It is understood that there are several teams looking to sign the player in the summer. Dortmund are willing to listen to offers for the player and value him at around £5 million.

JAPAN LOSE SHE BELIEVES CUP

England have won the She Believes Cup for the first time as they defeated 2015 World Cup finalist Japan in the final game. The Lionesses came out blazing in a game that saw Japan crumble to three goals within the first 45 minutes.

Lucy Staniforth began the scoring with a neat finish from outside the box, while Karen Carney increased the lead with a nice header. The game was over just before halftime as Beth Mead Fired in from close range just before half-time.

PODOLSKI HOPES TO PLAY FOR COLOGNE AGAIN

Vissel Kobe FC striker Lukas Podolski has revealed he would love to turn out for hometown club Cologne again before he finally calls time on his illustrious career.

Podolski made a bold decision last summer, leaving Turkish giants Galatasary for Japan to play for Vissel Kobe FC – a move in which many saw as the player bidding farewell to playing football at the highest level. Maybe he felt it was time to rake in the cash.

NADESHIKO JAPAN EMERGE VICTORIOUS AGAINST NORWAY

The Japanese women national team, Nadeshiko came out on top in a friendly game against Norway on Sunday in preparation for the 2019 FIFA women’s world cup. Forward ManaIwabuchi was the cream of the crop for Japan.

Japan started on the front foot, when forward Kumi Yokoyama gave them an early lead in the 16th minute, courtesy of a well-placed shot, sending the Japanese fans into ecstasy at the Tottori Bird Stadium. The manager and the fans were visibly excited to see their team take the lead so early in the game.