Robust exams at 2022 FIFA World Cup may simply be the platform to usher in Japan’s new technology

For the primary time in a protracted whereas, Japan head to a FIFA World Cup arguably with none confirmed A-grade expertise with the uncanny capability to affect sport on their very own.

In recent times, their performances on soccer’s greatest stage have been fueled by the likes of Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa and even Shinji Okazaki. Going additional again, there have been standouts like Shunsuke Nakamura, Yasuhito Endo and Shinji Ono.

Even when the Samurai Blue made their World Cup debut again in 1998, it proved to be the stage for a sure Hidetoshi Nakata to return to the fore and ultimately earn a transfer to Europe.

– 2022 World Cup: All squad lists for Qatar
– World Cup staff previews: Group E – Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan

This yr, as they brace for robust exams at Qatar 2022 towards Spain and Germany — in addition to a less-daunting however equally-tricky tie with Costa Rica — it’s tough to focus on one particular person that shall be integral to their fortunes .

To take a look at it negatively could be to easily say that this Samurai Blue staff is bereft of star gamers.

However that’s not to say there is no such thing as a real high quality at coach Hajime Moriyasu’s disposal.

It’s in spite of everything a staff sport. And with no clear dangerman for opposition groups to channel their consideration on, the Japanese may even have a component of unpredictability they didn’t possess in earlier years.

So in lieu of 1 single X-factor participant, who’re the less-recognizable names that might mix to gasoline Japan’s quest to succeed in the Spherical of 16?

The obvious candidate is former Liverpool attacker Takumi Minamino, who has succeeded Kagawa in each the No. 10 jersey and the playmaker-in-chief duties.

Minamino’s resume is spectacular sufficient but he has not loved the very best of occasions in recent times, and his kind has hardly picked up since leaving Liverpool for Monaco in quest of higher first-team alternatives.

As an alternative, a similarly-hyped prospect that appears likelier to star for the Samurai Blue in Qatar is Takefusa Kubo.

Nonetheless solely 21, Kubo can already depend each Barcelona and Actual Madrid amongst his former golf equipment and is now discovering his toes in LaLiga since shifting to Actual Sociedad on a everlasting deal initially of this season.

One other man that has discovered kind within the lead-up to the World Cup is Kaoru Mitoma, who may kind a potent double act with Kubo down each wings.

Having needed to bide his time for a shot within the Brighton lineup, the silky-skilled attacker’s ultimate three matches earlier than the World Cup break had been all begins — the place he contributed a formidable two targets and an help.

Barely additional again, Wataru Endo and Hidemasa Morita — each based mostly in Europe with Stuttgart and Sporting CP respectively — not often hog the headlines however are all the time assured to get the job accomplished in holding midfield.

In defence, captain Maya Yoshida stays an influential presence however his long-term successor has already emerged within the man he’ll line up alongside — Arsenal man Takehiro Tomiyasu.

But, maybe the one man who may actually resolve how far Japan get on the World Cup is Eintracht Frankfurt’s Daichi Kamada.

A revelation to date this time period, Kamada has racked up 12 targets in 22 matches taking part in for a staff that’s at the moment fourth within the Bundesliga and thru to the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League. And he performs in midfield.

Considerably of a late bloomer, Kamada was hardly touted as a subsequent huge factor when he got here by at Sagan Tosu and, even after being signed by Frankfurt in 2017, he nonetheless needed to serve his apprenticeship on mortgage in Belgium with Sint-Truiden.

Nonetheless, he ultimately earned his likelihood. Ten targets in 48 video games within the 2019-20 season — his first yr again from that mortgage spell. 9 targets in 46 appearances final time period, together with 5 in Frankfurt’s UEFA Europa League-winning marketing campaign.

To the place he’s now, a real rising star of the Bundesliga, even when he has come a giant later than common on the age of 26.

There are others with lots extra to supply the Samurai Blue.

The veterans Hiroki Sakai and Yuto Nagatomo that may provide stability within the fullback positions. Livewires Ritsu Doan, Junya Ito and Ao Tanaka, who may all present a second of magic. Even one-time Arsenal prospect Takuma Asano, who has in all probability not kicked on as some would have anticipated in his membership profession however has a behavior of coming good for his nationwide staff.

None of those gamers shall be talked about as real A-listers in world soccer, but it surely is not going to trouble them nor Moriyasu.

Collectively, they might make for a top-quality staff.

And in the event that they one way or the other overcome both Germany or Spain and even squeeze their manner into the Spherical of 16 at this World Cup, there’s a excessive likelihood a number of of the Samurai Blue’s new technology shall be considered stars by the point the match is over.

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