Squad, history, achievements – all important information

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Created: 06/30/2022, 12:56 p.m

Von: Andreas Apetz


The Japanese national team before an international match in March 2022. (Archive photo) © AFLOSPORT/Imago Images

On November 23, the Japanese national team will be the first group opponents to meet the DFB team. All important information about the team from Asia.

Tokyo – Japan is the opening opponent of the German national team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The island nation’s national team is Asia’s flagship in world football. No team from Asia has been more successful at a World Cup in recent years than the Japanese. The country’s footballing history is still comparatively young.

Japan National Team: Formation and Beginnings

In Japan, soccer is the most popular sport in the country after baseball. The Japanese national team lost their first official international match on May 7, 1917 against the Philippines 15:2. The Japan Football Association was formed in 1921. Although nationwide club cups have been held since the 1920s, football initially played a subordinate role in Japan.

Japan Football Association (JFA)
7 May 1917 v Bahrain (2:15 loss)
Won Asian Football Championship (1992, 2000, 2004, 2011)
Yasuhito Endo (153 missions as of June 30, 2022)
Shinji Okazaki (52 Tore, Stand 30.06.2022)

It wasn’t until the 1964 Tokyo Olympics that the sport flourished nationwide. Since they also wanted to be successful at the Olympics in their own country, Japan hired the German coach Dettmar Cramer. He transformed the squad, leading Japan to the quarter-finals of the tournament and sparking footballing interest in the country.

National team from Japan: First win of the Asian championship

Football has grown in popularity over time. At the next Olympic Games, the team celebrated winning the bronze medal. With the formation of the professional Japan Soccer League, the sport was finally established on the island. And the Japanese national team promptly celebrated its first successes: in 1992, Japan invited to the Asian championship in their own country and, with the support of their home fans, won their first major title.

But the highs were followed by a low blow: in the “Doha Tragedy” of 1993, the Japanese team missed out on qualifying for the finals of the 1994 World Cup in the USA at the last second. At the 1996 Asian Football Championship, the Japanese national team was eliminated in the quarter-finals and failed to defend the title.

Japan National Team: One of the strongest teams in Asia

The first participation in a football World Cup was in 1998. In the decisive phase of the qualification, the Japanese national team kept their nerves and secured their plane ticket to France at the last moment. After three defeats against Argentina, Croatia and Jamaica, Japan was eliminated as the bottom of the group.

The next World Cup went much better. At the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, the team reached the round of 16 after victories over Tunisia and Russia. There they were eliminated against eventual World Cup third-placed Turkey with a 0-1 defeat. Reaching the round of 16 is the greatest international success of the Japanese national team to date and was repeated at the tournaments in South Africa in 2010 and in Russia in 2018.

Having won four Asian championships, taking part in six finals at a football World Cup and a bronze medal at the Olympic Games, the Japanese national team is one of the strongest teams on its continent. She is 24th in the FIFA world rankings (as of June 30, 2022).

Japan National Team: Titles and Achievements

Asian Championship (4 titles) 1992, 2000, 2004, 2011
Football World Cup (round of 16) 2002, 2010, 2018
Olympic Games (Bronze Medal) 1968
As of June 30, 2022

Japan national team: record players and goalscorers

The Japan national team’s most experienced player is Yasuhito Endo with 153 appearances. He played in central midfield and, at the age of 42, is still on the field for the Japanese first division club Júblio Iwata. National legend Yuto Nagatomo (138 appearances) and clipper Shinji Okazaki (121 appearances) are second and third in the record player list.

The goalscorer list is led by Shinji Okazaki. The 36-year-old Japanese currently plays for FC Cartagena in the second Spanish division and is mainly used as a joker.

1 Shinji Okazaki 52
2 Kazuyoshi Miura 42
3 Keisuke Honda 38
4 Shinji Kagawa 31
5 Yuya Osako 25
6 Shunsuke Nakamura 23
7 Takuya Takagi 18
Naohiro Takahara 18
9 Yuji Nakazawa 17
Takumi Minamino 17
As of June 30, 2022

The current Japan national team squad for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

  • Tor: Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Eiji Kawashima (RC Strasbourg), Keisuke Osako (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
  • defense: Wataru Endo (VfB Stuttgart), Ko Itakura (Manchester City), Hiroki Ito (VfB Stuttgart), Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Yuta Nakayama (PEC Zwolle), Yukinari Sugawara (AZ Alkmaar), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal FC), Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale), Maya Yoshida (Sampdoria)
  • midfield: Ritsu Dōan (OSV Eidhoven), Genki Haraguchi (1. FC Union Berlin), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco), Hidemasa Morita (CD Santa Clara), GAku Shibasaki (CD Leganés), Ao Tanaka ( Fortuna Düsseldorf), Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale)
  • Sturm: Takuma Asano (VfL Bochum), Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic FC), Junya Ito (KRC Genk), Takefusa Kubo (Real Madird), Daizen Maeda (Celtic FC), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ayase Ueda (Kashima Antlers) )

The Japan national team is coached by Hajime Moriyasu. The match schedule for the 2022 World Cup has already been set: In their opening game at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Japan will meet the DFB team. Then it’s off against the national teams of Costa Rica and Spain. On you will find an overview of all groups at the World Cup and a list of all teams at the World Cup 2022. (Andreas Apetz)