Register Login Scores

International

Group A: Japan

Nickname:Samurai Blue

Fifa ranking:32

Coach:Alberto Zaccheroni (Italy)

Star Players:Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan); Atsudo Uchida (Schalke); Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow); Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United); Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart)

Recent form:L, D, W

Asian champions Japan enter the Confederations Cup high on confidence, after becoming the first team to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year.

Coached by Alberto Zaccheroni, who led AC Milan to the Scudetto in 1999, the Samurai Blue comfortably progressed from their Asian qualifying group with two games to spare, and they have been able to take their foot off the pedal ahead of the Confederations Cup.

Known for their irrepressible dynamism and hard running style, Japan get the Confederations Cup underway with a juicy encounter against hosts Brazil on Saturday.

They will start the match as historical underdogs, and may not be expected to survive Group A with Italy and Mexico to battle with.

But their opponents will write Japan off at their peril.

Click here to see our Samurai Blue photo gallery!

It was a new-look Japan that powered to the Asian Cup in 2011, and two years later their eye-catching team has grown into well-oiled and dangerous machine.

They have battle-hardened players throughout their squad, with a spine that is the envy of all but the best international teams.

At the back, Yuto Nagatomo of Inter Milan and highly-rated Schalke star Atsudo Uchida combine ruthless tackling and first-rate reading of the game.

In midfield, dead ball expert and talisman Keisuke Honda of CSKA Moscow has vast experience in the Champions League, and has taken over where previous engine room stars Hidetoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura left off.

Alongside Honda is Manchester United playmaker, Shinji Kagawa. He wears the number 10 shirt, and will be tasked with driving Japan’s attack forward with his intelligent passing, darting movement and clinical finishing.

And up front, Shinji Okazaki leads the line, boasting an impressive record of 33 goals in 63 starts for his country. Okazaki was top scorer at the Asian Cup, and the Stuttgart ace pairs his finishing with traditional centre -forward skills, as an effective foil to the devastating midfield talent behind him.

Click here to see a video of Japan and Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa in action!

The most successful team in the history of Asian football, the Samurai Blue are underdogs to watch in Group A at the Confederations Cup.

Preview: Italy v Japan

Preview: Brazil v Japan

Brazil Smash Three Past Japan

3 comments

Top 5

Bucs Suffer Confed Cup Heartbreak On Penalties

490 May 20, 2022 11:51 PM in Orlando Pirates

Gallery: Pep, Man City Celebrate EPL Title

May 23, 2022 08:24 AM in English Premier League

De Gea Sends Brutal Message To Man Utd Teammates

3 May 23, 2022 09:24 AM in English Premier League

Exclusive! Latest On Chiefs & Maart…

53 May 18, 2022 10:01 AM in Kaizer Chiefs

Chiefs Open Negotiations For Top Target

37 May 22, 2022 11:57 AM in Kaizer Chiefs

7 Soldiers Left Behind As Pirates Prepare For War

44 May 20, 2022 12:24 PM in Orlando Pirates

Vrrrpha! Another Sundowns Star Bags Golf 8 GTI

1 May 19, 2022 03:38 PM in Stars & Their Cars

Hunt, Khune And More Reacted To Pitso’s Big Announcement

15 May 19, 2022 03:09 PM in The Best Of The Rest

Mbappe Releases Statement After Shock Real Snub

10 May 23, 2022 07:35 AM in Messi/Ronaldo/Neymar/Mbappe Watch

Downs Coach Says Chiefs And Bucs Are Edging Closer

21 May 19, 2022 09:37 AM in Mamelodi Sundowns

Downs Coach Says Chiefs And Bucs Are Edging Closer

21 May 19, 2022 09:37 AM in Mamelodi Sundowns