Japan 2022 World Cup guide: Star player, fixtures, squad, one to watch, odds to win

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Promoting youth in the last few years in a bid for a new era, Japan still boast some stars who have made the grade in Europe.

A developing squad punctuated with more experienced operators could still struggle at this World Cup, however.

Here’s all you need to know about Japan…

Coach: Hajime Moriyasu. Selected four years ago to build precisely for this tournament.

Captain: Maya Yoshida. The former Southampton centre-back now at Schalke remains central to Japan’s plans.

Star player: Takumi Minamino. A key creative outlet, the ex-Liverpool forward will be expected to deliver goals and assists.

One to watch: Takefusa Kobo. Spent three years at Real Madrid but could not force a senior breakthrough. Now settled at Real Sociedad after several loan stints in Spain.

World ranking: 24

Odds: 300/1

Best thing about them: Organised, disciplined and threatening on the break.

Worst thing about them: Lack of killer instinct could leave them short of goals.

Their prospects in three words: Group stage disappointment.

Fixtures (all times GMT)

  • November 23 vs Germany (1pm)

  • November 27 vs Costa Rica (10am)

  • December 1 vs Spain (7pm)


Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima, Shuichi Gonda, Daniel Schmidt.

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

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

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