Japan national football team


The Japan national football team (Japanese: サッカー日本代表, Hepburn: Sakkā Nippon Daihyō), nicknamed the Samurai Blue (サムライ・ブルー), represents Japan in men's international football and it is controlled by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the governing body for football in Japan. The head coach is Hajime Moriyasu, who is also the coach of the Japan U-23 team.

Japan
Nickname(s)サムライ・ブルー
(Samurai Blue)
AssociationJapan Football Association (JFA)
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Sub-confederationEAFF (East Asia)
Head coachHajime Moriyasu
CaptainMaya Yoshida
Most capsYasuhito Endō (152)
Top scorerKunishige Kamamoto (75)[1]
Home stadiumJapan National Stadium
FIFA codeJPN
First colours
Second colours
FIFA ranking
Current 28 (27 May 2021)[2]
Highest9 (March 1998)
Lowest62 (December 1992)
First international
 Japan 0–5 China 
(Tokyo, Japan; 9 May 1917)[3]
Biggest win
 Japan 15–0 Philippines 
(Tokyo, Japan; 27 September 1967)
Biggest defeat
 Japan 2–15 Philippines 
(Tokyo, Japan; 10 May 1917)[4]
World Cup
Appearances6 (first in 1998)
Best resultRound of 16 (2002, 2010, 2018)
Asian Cup
Appearances9 (first in 1988)
Best resultChampions (1992, 2000, 2004, 2011)
Copa América
Appearances2 (first in 1999)
Best resultGroup stage (1999, 2019)
Confederations Cup
Appearances5 (first in 1995)
Best resultRunners-up (2001)

Japan was not a major football force until the end of the 1980s, with its team small and amateur, but since the 1990s, when Japanese football became fully professionalized, Japan has quickly emerged as one of the most successful teams in Asia, having qualified for the last six consecutive FIFA World Cups with second round advancements in 2002, 2010, and 2018, and having won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times, in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011. The team has also finished second in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. To date, Japan remains the only team from the AFC other than Australia and Saudi Arabia to have reached the final of a senior FIFA men's competition.

Japan's progression from amateur football to a fully professional and successful Asian national team in just a short time period has served as an inspiration and example of how to develop football.[5][6]

Their principal continental rivals are South Korea, North Korea, China and most recently, Australia; though they also developed rivalries against Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Japan was the first team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa América, having been invited in 1999, 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions of the tournament, though they only played in the 1999 and 2019 events.[7]

History


Pre-war Era (1910s–1930s)

Japan's earliest international matches were at the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo, where it was represented by a team from the Tokyo Higher Normal School. Although Japan made strong showings in swimming, baseball, and track and field, its football team suffered resounding defeats to the Republic of China and the Philippines.[8] Nevertheless, the game was promoted in Japanese schools in the 1920s.[9] The Japan Football Association was formed in 1921,[10] and Japan joined FIFA in May 1929.[9]

Japan's first "true" national team (as opposed to a university team chosen to represent the country) was fielded at the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games, and drew with China for the championship title.[9] Shigeyoshi Suzuki coached the national team to its first Olympic appearance at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.[10] Japan was an entrant for the 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification, but withdrew before its scheduled qualifying match against the Dutch East Indies.[11]

After World War II began in earnest, Japan did not play in international competition, except for a handful of matches against Manchuria and other colonies.[9] Its last prewar match for purposes of Elo ratings was a friendly against the Philippines in June 1940.[12]

While Korea was under Japanese rule, several Koreans played in international competition for Japan, including Kim Yong-sik (1936–40), Kim Sung-gan (1940) and Lee Yoo-hyung (1940).

Post-war Era (1950s–1980s)

Japan playing Argentine club Racing de Córdoba at the 1981 President's Cup

Japan's postwar debut was in the 1951 Asian Games in India.[12] Japan re-joined FIFA in 1950 and played in qualifiers for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, but lost the AFC qualifying berth to South Korea after two matches, beginning an intense rivalry.[10] Japan also joined the Asian Football Confederation in 1954.[9]

Dettmar Cramer joined the Japan national team as coach in 1960, and helped lead the team to the round of eight at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.[13] Japan's first major achievement in international football came in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where the team won the bronze medal. Although this result earned the sport increased recognition in Japan, the absence of a professional domestic league hindered its growth and Japan would not qualify for the FIFA World Cup until 30 years later.[14] Nonetheless, Japan had come close to qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup, but lost to South Korea in the deciding matches.

Japan made its first appearance in the Asian Cup in 1988, where they were eliminated in the group stage following a draw with Iran and losses to South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

The late 1980s saw concrete moves to professionalize the sport in Japan. JFA introduced a Special Licensed Player system in 1986, allowing a limited number of professional players to compete in the domestic semi-professional league. Action committees were held in 1988 and 1989 to discuss the introduction of a full professional league in Japan.[13]

1990s: Rise

In 1991, the owners of the semi-professional Japan Soccer League agreed to disband the league and re-form as the professional J.League, partly to raise the sport's profile and to strengthen the national team program. The following year, Japan hosted the 1992 Asian Cup and won their first title by defeating Saudi Arabia in a 1–0 win during the final. The J.League was officially launched in 1993, causing interest in football and the national team to grow.

However, in its first attempt to qualify with professional players, Japan narrowly missed a ticket to the 1994 World Cup after drawing with Iraq in the final match of the qualification round, remembered by fans as the "Agony of Doha". Japan's next tournament was a defence of their continental title at the 1996 Asian Cup. The team won all their games in the group stage but were eliminated in the quarter-finals after a 2–0 loss to Kuwait.

The nation's first ever World Cup appearance was in 1998, where Japan lost all their games. The first two fixtures went 1–0 in favour of Argentina and Croatia, and the campaign ended with a 2–1 defeat to Jamaica. Japan impressed in all three games, however, with all three defeats were just one goal margin.

2000s

Japan against Brazil at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, Germany in the 2006 FIFA World Cup

In the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, Japan managed to reclaim their title after defeating Saudi Arabia in the final, becoming Asian Champions for the second time.

Two years later, Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea. After a 2–2 draw with Belgium in their opening match, the Japanese team advanced to the second round with a 1–0 win over Russia and a 2–0 victory against Tunisia. However, they subsequently exited the tournament during the round of 16, after losing 1–0 to eventual third-place finishers Turkey.

The 2004 AFC Asian Cup hosted by China, the Japanese managed to retain the title, though its journey had been more troubling. Facing against an entirely hostile Chinese fans, the Japanese managed to top their group after two wins over Thailand and Oman, before overcame Jordan and Bahrain, both hard-fought games for Japan, to reach the final where they beat host China 3–1.

On 8 June 2005, Japan qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, its third consecutive World Cup, by beating North Korea 2–0 on neutral ground. However, Japan failed to advance to the Round of 16, losing to Australia 1–3, drawing Croatia 0–0 and losing to Brazil 1–4.

The 2007 AFC Asian Cup saw Japan failed to defend the title. Although easily topped ahead of host Vietnam and two Arab rivals, Qatar and the UAE, the Japanese were totally exhausted in their game against Australia, where Japan won only by penalty shootout. Having been exhausted for the win, Japan lost to Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals before failed in the third-place match to South Korea.

2010s

During the 2010 World Cup qualification, in the fourth round of the Asian Qualifiers, Japan became the first team other than the host South Africa to qualify after defeating Uzbekistan 1–0 away. Japan was put in Group E along with the Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon, and was not expected highly due to unimpressive results in friendlies.[15] Despite this criticisms, Japan went on to shock its opening match of the 2010 World Cup with a 1–0 win against Cameroon, before subsequently lost to the Netherlands 0–1. Then, Japan resoundingly beat Denmark 3–1 to advance to the next round against Paraguay, making it the first time ever Japan progressed from the group stage without hosting the World Cup. In the first knockout round, Japan were eliminated from the competition following penalties after a 0–0 draw against Paraguay, but received praises for its outstanding performances.

After the World Cup, head coach Takeshi Okada resigned. He was replaced by former Juventus and Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni. In his first few matches, Japan recorded victories over Guatemala (2–1) and Paraguay (1–0), as well as one of their best ever results, a 1–0 victory over Argentina.

At the start of 2011, Japan participated in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. On 29 January, they beat Australia 1–0 in the final after extra time, their fourth Asian Cup triumph and allowing them to qualify for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.[16]

Japan then started their road to 2014 World Cup in Brazil with numerous qualifiers. Throughout, they suffered only two losses to Uzbekistan and Jordan, and drawing against Australia. Afterwards, on 12 October, Japan earned a historic 1–0 victory over France, a team they had never before defeated. After a 1–1 draw with Australia they qualified for the 2014 World Cup, becoming the first nation (outside of Brazil, who hosted the tournament and qualified automatically) to qualify.

Japan started their 2013 Confederations Cup campaign with a 3–0 loss to Brazil. They were then eliminated from the competition after losing to Italy 3–4 in a hard-fought match but received praise for their style of play in the match. They lost their final match 1–2 against Mexico and finished in fourth place in Group A. One month later, in the EAFF East Asian Cup, they started out with a 3–3 draw to China. They then beat Australia 3–2 and beat South Korea 2–1 in the third and final match in the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup to claim the title. The road to Brazil looked bright as Japan managed a 2–2 draw with the Netherlands and a 2–3 victory over Belgium. This was followed by three straight wins against Cyprus, Costa Rica and Zambia.

Japan was placed into Group C at the 2014 World Cup alongside the Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia. They fell in their first match to Ivory Coast 2–1 despite initially taking the lead, allowing two goals in a two-minute span. They drew their second game to Greece 0–0. To qualify for the second round, they needed a victory against Colombia and needed Greece to beat Ivory Coast. Greece beat Ivory Coast 2–1, but Japan could not perform well against Colombia and were beaten 4–1, eliminating them from the World Cup. Alberto Zaccheroni resigned as head coach after the World Cup. In July 2014, former Mexico and Espanyol manager Javier Aguirre took over and Japan lost 0–2 to Uruguay in the first game he managed.

Aguirre would begin a strong revamp of the team, switching out Zaccheroni's long-used 4–2–3–1 formation for his own 4–3–3 and applied this with a roster of the J.League's finest, dropping many regulars. A 2–2 draw against Venezuela was followed by a 1–0 victory over Jamaica. However, they lost their following match to Brazil 4–0, with Neymar scoring all four goals. Japan's sights turned to January and their title defense at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Japan national team vs Paraguay 2008

Japan won its opening match at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Group D against Asian Cup debutantes Palestine 4–0, with goals from Yasuhito Endō, Shinji Okazaki, Keisuke Honda via a penalty and Maya Yoshida. Okazaki was named man of the match. They then faced Iraq and Jordan in their next group matches, which they won 1–0 and 2–0 respectively. They qualified to knockout stage as Group D winner with nine points, seven goals scored and no goals conceded. In the quarter-finals, Japan lost to the United Arab Emirates in a penalty shootout after a 1–1 draw, as Honda and Shinji Kagawa missed their penalty kicks. Japan's elimination marked their worst performance in the tournament in 19 years.

After the Asian Cup, Aguirre was sacked following allegations of corruption during a prior tenure. He was replaced by Vahid Halilhodžić in March 2015. Japan started on a rough note during qualification, losing to the UAE 1–2 at home. They then picked up the pace in their other qualifier games against Iraq, Australia, and Thailand, picking up 5 wins and 2 draws. Then, on 31 August 2017, Japan defeated Australia 2–0 at home thus qualifying them for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, making it their sixth successive World Cup. However, the Japan Football Association decided to sack Halilhodžić on 9 April 2018, only ten weeks before the World Cup finals, citing reasons of a breakdown in relationship between coach and player, and poor recent friendly results, and appoint the Technical Director, Japanese coach Akira Nishino, who had managed the Japanese Under-23 team at the 1996 Olympics, as the new manager.[17]

Japanese players before match with Iran at 2019 AFC Asian Cup

Japan made history in the 2018 FIFA World Cup by defeating Colombia 2–1, their first ever victory by any AFC team against a CONMEBOL team in an official tournament,[18] as well as Japan's first ever victory at the FIFA World Cup finals in UEFA nations. Their second match ended in a draw against Senegal, with one goal scored by Takashi Inui and the other by Keisuke Honda.[19] Japan were defeated in their last group game in the Group H against Poland 0–1,[20] leaving Japan and Senegal tied for second with an identical record, however, as Japan had received two fewer yellow cards, Japan advanced to the knockout stage on the Fair Play Points tiebreaker, the first team to do so.[21] The match with Poland caused controversy; as Japan were made aware of their advantage over Senegal with ten minutes left and decided to play an extremely conservative game, passing the ball around to one another and keeping it in their own box, seeking to avoid any bookings and didn't attempt to take any serious shots on goal, despite losing 0–1, with some fans booing the players.[22][23][24] The match received comparison to the 1982 World Cup Disgrace of Gijón, in which a similar game was played.[25] Japan were the only AFC team to have qualified to the knockout stage.[26] In the Round of 16 against Belgium, Japan took a surprising 2–0 lead with a goal in the 48th minute by Genki Haraguchi and another in the 52nd by Takashi Inui, but yielded 3 goals afterwards, including the winner by Nacer Chadli on the counterattack in the 94th minute. This was Japan's third time having reached the last 16, equaling their best result at a World Cup.[27] Japan's defeat to eventual third-place finishers Belgium was the first time a nation had lost a knockout match at the World Cup after taking a two-goal advantage since England lost to West Germany 2–3 in extra-time in the quarter-final of the 1970 edition.[28][29] However, Japan's impressive performance was praised by fans, pundits and medias for their fighting spirits, as demonstrated by Japan's win over Colombia, a draw to Senegal and a strong counter offensive against heavyweight Belgium.[30]

Japan participated in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and had an almost successful tournament. The team easily topped group F after defeating Turkmenistan 3–2,[31] Oman 1–0[32] and Uzbekistan 2–1.[33] The team, however, got criticized for its defensive approach, as Japan won the group with only one goal margin wins in all three matches and two later knockout stage's matches as Japan only beat fellow powerhouse Saudi Arabia in the round of sixteen and dark horse Vietnam in the quarter-finals both with 1–0 margin.[34][35] The semi-finals saw Japan put the best performance up to date, thrashing rival powerhouse Iran 3–0 to reach the final.[citation needed] However, Japan's hope to win the fifth Asian Cup in two decades shattered with the team suffered a 1–3 loss to Aspire-based Qatar and finished runners-up of the tournament.[36]

Japan were invited to the 2019 Copa America, their second appearance at the tournament, and brought a young squad to the competition. They were in Group C with Uruguay, Chile and Ecuador. They lost their opening match, 0–4 to Chile.[37] Japan, however, bounced back well and managed to unluckily draw against football giants Uruguay 2–2, who (Uruguay) were deemed to been saved by VAR.[38] Japan needed a win against Ecuador to qualify for the knockouts, however they drew 1–1 and missed out due to inferior goal differences to Paraguay.[39] Aftermath saw Japan played a friendly game against the Paraguayans, and won 2–0 at home.

Japan was grouped with Myanmar, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. In a pretty easy group, Japan proved to be the dominant force in their group, having cruised Myanmar, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan without conceding a goal so far.

In December, Japan participated in the 2019 EAFF E-1 Football Championship hosted in South Korea. Coach Moriyasu summoned a young and inexperienced squad for the competition. With the young squad, Japan only managed to win against China and Hong Kong, and lost to rival South Korea, finished second in the competition.

Team image


Nicknames

The Japanese team is commonly known by the fans and media as Sakkā Nippon Daihyō (サッカー日本代表), Nippon Daihyō (日本代表), or Daihyō (代表) as abbreviated expressions. Although the team does not have an official nickname as such, it is often known by the name of the manager. For example, under Takeshi Okada, the team was known as Okada Japan (岡田ジャパン, Okada Japan).[40] Recently, the team has been known or nicknamed as the "Samurai Blue", while Japanese news media during the 2018 FIFA World Cup still referred it to by the recently departed manager's (Akira Nishino) last name, as "Nishino Japan" (西野ジャパン, Nishino Japan).[41][42]

Kits and crest

Boeing 777-289 Samurai Blue Jet

The national team kit design has gone through several alterations in the past. In the early 1980s, the kit was white with blue trim. The kits worn for the 1992 Asian Cup consisted of white stripes (stylized to form a wing) with red diamonds. During Japan's first World Cup appearance in 1996 Asian Cup and in 1998, the national team kits were blue jerseys with red and white flame designs on the sleeves, and were designed by JFA (with the sponsor alternating each year between Asics, Puma, and Adidas). The 1996 design was reproduced in a special kit used against Syria on 7 June 2017.

Japan uses blue and white rather than red and white due to a superstition. Japan first used blue shirts in the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games, where a team of the Tokyo Imperial University (whose color is light blue) represented Japan wearing light blue shirts,[43] and then in a 3–2 victory over Sweden in the first game of its maiden major international competition, the 1936 Summer Olympics.[44] When Japan was coached by Kenzo Yokoyama (1988–1992) the kits were red and white, matching the colours of Japan's national flag. After failures at 1990 FIFA World Cup and 1992 Summer Olympics qualifications, the red shirt was scrapped.

In the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, Japan temporarily switched the colour of the numbers from white to gold.

Japan's kit is provided by German company Adidas, the team's exclusive kit supplier since April 1999.[45] Before that, Asics and Puma had been the team's official apparel sponsor alongside Adidas.

Kit evolution
Home kit
1930
1950–75
1979–80
1980–83
1984–85
1985
1983–86
1986–87
1988–92
1992
1992–95
1996–98
1998–99
1999–2000
2001
2002–03
2004–05
2005–07
2008–09
2009–11
2012–13
2013–15
2015–2017
2017.06.07
2017–2019
2019–present
Away kit
1998–99
1999–2000
2001
2002–03
2004–05
2006–07
2008–09
2010–11
2012–13
2014–15
2015–17
2018–2019
2020–present
Crest
JFA logo used on the kits (2009–2017)
Yatagarasu

The crest or emblem of the national team was adopted in late 2017 as part of a larger rebranding by the Japan Football Association.[46] The crest features the Yatagarasu, a three-legged crow from Japanese mythology that is a symbol for the sun, holding a solid red ball that is like the sun from national flag. The text "JFA" (for the Japan Football Association) is inscribed at the bottom of the crow. A red stripe is also present at the center of the shield behind the crow. The shield has a metallic gold trim and has a thicker black outline. The name of the country represented by the national team "Japan" is also inscribed within the black border.[47][48]

The previous crest used from 1996 had a shield with a more complex shape. The ball held by the Yatagarasu had white details. The text "Japan" is absent and "JFA" is written in a different typeface.[47]

Before 1988, Japan used the national flag outlined in red (and with JFA written in black on the lower left corner of the flag) on the shirts.

The Yatagarasu was first seen on the Japan shirts in 1988, where it was on a yellow circle with a blue outline with "JAPAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION" written around it. In 1991, the emblem changed to a white shield with a red vertical stripe on the center with the crow on it and "JFA" written in a green Gothic typeface. This crest was used until 1996.

Home stadium

Japan National Stadium in Shinjuku, Tokyo in 2020

Japan plays its home matches among various stadiums, in rotation, around the country. However, in majority in the final round of every FIFA World Cup qualification, plays at the Japan National Stadium.

Rivalries

South Korea

Japan maintains a strong football rivalry with South Korea. The football rivalry is long-seated and is often seen as an extension of an overall historic rivalry between the 2 nations. Japan met South Korea 80 times, trailing the statistic at 15 wins, 23 draws, and 42 losses. Japan scored 73 goals and conceded 153. Both countries have made themselves unrivalled in both Asian Cup and World Cup records, being the two most successful Asian countries, and have hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup in a joint bid.

Australia

Japan began to develop a fierce rivalry with fellow Asian powerhouse Australia, shortly after the latter joined the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).[49] The rivalry is regarded as one of Asia's biggest football rivalries.[50] The rivalry is a relatively recent one, born from a number of highly competitive matches between the two teams since Australia joined the AFC in 2006.[51] The rivalry began at the 2006 World Cup where the two countries were grouped together, and continued with the two countries meeting regularly in various AFC competitions, such as the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the 2011 AFC Asian Cup Final and the 2013 EAFF East Asian Cup.[52] Likewise, Australia and Japan also share a World Cup and continental records that is nearly unrivaled in Asia, and also similar that football is not the main sport in both nations until recently; yet hold an indistinguishable record that being the only three members from the AFC to have reached the final of any senior FIFA competition, the other being Saudi Arabia, both in the defunct FIFA Confederations Cup, albeit Australia achieved it when the country was still belonged to the OFC.[53]

China

Japan also has a long-standing rivalry with China, because of historical tensions between two countries in the past. China is leading the series with 16 wins, with Japan only has 14 wins; however Japan has achieved more successes than China.

Supporters

Fans waving flags in support of the Japanese national team.

Japanese national team supporters are known for chanting "Nippon Ole" (Nippon is the Japanese word for Japan) at home matches.[54]

A match against Peru in 2007

Sponsorship

Japan has one of the highest sponsorship incomes for a national squad. In 2006 their sponsorship income amounted to over 16.5 million pounds.

Primary sponsors include Adidas, Kirin, Saison Card International, FamilyMart, JAL, MS&AD Insurance Group, Asahi Shinbun, Mizuho Financial, Daito Trust Construction and KDDI.

Official partner
Official supplier
Supporting company
Apparel provider
Provider

Mascot

The mascots are "Karappe" (カラッペ) and "Karara" (カララ), two Yatagarasu wearing the Japan national football team kit. The mascots were designed by Japanese manga artist Susumu Matsushita. Each year when a new kit is launched, the mascots change uniforms.[clarification needed]

For the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Pokémon character Pikachu served as the mascot.[55]

Media coverage

FIFA World Cup
Television channel Period
Japan Consortium (Fuji Television, NHK General TV, Nippon Television, TBS and TV Asahi; all matches in live telecast) 2018
AFC Asian Cup
Television channel Period
TV Asahi 2019
Friendly and Qualifiers
Television channel Period
Nippon Television, NHK BS1 2021

Results and fixtures


The following is a list of match results in the last 12 months, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.
The friendly against  Jamaica on 3 Jun 2021 was cancelled due to multiple Jamaican players being unable to board their flight to Japan on account of not meeting the Japanese government's pre-travel COVID-19 testing requirements. The fixture was replaced with a match against the Japan under-24 team.[56]


Legend

  Win   Draw   Loss   Void or Postponed   Fixture

2020

9 October Friendly Japan  0–0  Cameroon Utrecht, Netherlands
14:00 UTC+2 Report (JFA)
Report (JFA)
Report (Soccerway)
Stadium: Stadion Galgenwaard
Attendance: 0
Referee: Bas Nijhuis (Netherlands)
13 November Friendly Japan  1–0  Panama Graz, Austria
Report (JFA)
Report (JFA)
Report (Soccerway)
Stadium: Liebenauer Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Petru Ciochirca (Austria)
17 November Friendly Japan  0–2  Mexico Graz, Austria
Report (JFA)
Report (JFA)
Report (Soccerway)
Stadium: Liebenauer Stadium
Attendance: 0
Referee: Manuel Schüttengruber (Austria)

2021

30 March 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification Mongolia  0–14  Japan Chiba, Japan[note 1]
19:30 UTC+9 Report (FIFA)
Report (AFC)
Report (JFA)
Report (Soccerway)
Stadium: Fukuda Denshi Arena
Referee: Omar Mohamed Al-Ali (United Arab Emirates)
28 May 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification Japan  10–0  Myanmar Chiba, Japan
19:30 UTC+9
Report (FIFA)
Report (AFC)
Report (JFA)
Report (JFA)
Report (Soccerway)
Stadium: Fukuda Denshi Arena
Referee: Hasan Akrami (Iran)
11 June Kirin Challenge Cup Japan  1–0  Serbia Kobe, Japan
19:25 UTC+9
Report (JFA)
Report (JFA)
Report (Soccerway)
Stadium: Noevir Stadium Kobe
Referee: Payam Heidari (Iran)

Coaching staff


Current coaching staff

As of 21 May 2021[58][59]
Hajime Moriyasu, current head coach of Japan
Position Name
Head coach Hajime Moriyasu
Assistant coach Akinobu Yokouchi
Assistant coach Toshihide Saito
Assistant coach Yusaku Ueno
Assistant coach Katsushi Kurihara
Physical coach Ryoichi Matsumoto
Physical coach Yoshiharu Yano
Goalkeeping coach Takashi Shimoda
Goalkeeping coach Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi

Manager history

Manager Period Record
MatchesWonDrawLostWin %
Masujiro Nishida192320020%
Goro Yamada192520020%
Vacant1925210150%
Shigeyoshi Suzuki (1st)1930211050%
Shigemaru Takenokoshi (1st)1934310233.33%
Shigeyoshi Suzuki (2nd)1936211050%
Shigemaru Takenokoshi (2nd)19401100100%
Hirokazu Ninomiya1951311133.33%
Shigemaru Takenokoshi (3rd)1954–561224616.66%
Taizo Kawamoto195820020%
Shigemaru Takenokoshi (4th)1958–591242633.33%
Vacant196010010%
Hidetoki Takahashi1961–19621432921.43%
Ken Naganuma (1st)1963–196931187658.06%
Shunichiro Okano1970–197119112657.90%
Ken Naganuma (2nd)1972–1976421662038.09%
Hiroshi Ninomiya1976–197827661522.22%
Yukio Shimomura1979–19801484257.14%
Masashi Watanabe1980320166.67%
Saburō Kawabuchi1980–19811032530%
Takaji Mori1981–1985432251651.16%
Yoshinobu Ishii1986–198717112464.70%
Kenzo Yokoyama1988–199124571220.83%
Hans Ooft1992–199327167459.25%
Paulo Roberto Falcão1994934233.33%
Shu Kamo1994–19974623101350%
Takeshi Okada (1st)1997–19981554633.33%
Philippe Troussier1998–20025023161146%
Zico2002–20067137161852.11%
Ivica Osim2006–200720135365%
Takeshi Okada (2nd)2007–20105026131152%
Hiromi Hara (caretaker)20102200100%
Alberto Zaccheroni2010–20145530121354.54%
Javier Aguirre2014–20151071270%
Vahid Halilhodžić2015–201838219855.26%
Akira Nishino2018721428.57%
Hajime Moriyasu2018–32215665.63%
Manager Period Record
MatchesWonDrawLostWin %
As of 18 November 2020 after the match against  Mexico.

Players


Current squad

The following players were called up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification matches against  Tajikistan and  Kyrgyzstan on 7 June and 15 June, as well as the friendly matches against Japan U-23 and  Serbia on 3 and 11 June.[60][61][62]
Caps and goals as of 11 June 2021 after the match against  Serbia.
No. Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Eiji Kawashima (1983-03-20) 20 March 1983 (age 38) 92 0 Strasbourg
12 1GK Shūichi Gonda (1989-03-03) 3 March 1989 (age 32) 22 0 Shimizu S-Pulse
23 1GK Daniel Schmidt (1992-02-03) 3 February 1992 (age 29) 7 0 Sint-Truiden
1GK Kosuke Nakamura (1995-02-27) 27 February 1995 (age 26) 6 0 Portimonense

2 2DF Naomichi Ueda (1994-10-24) 24 October 1994 (age 26) 15 1 Nîmes
3 2DF Sei Muroya (1994-04-05) 5 April 1994 (age 27) 14 0 Hannover 96
4 2DF Gen Shoji (1992-12-11) 11 December 1992 (age 28) 19 1 Gamba Osaka
5 2DF Yuto Nagatomo (1986-09-12) 12 September 1986 (age 34) 125 4 Marseille
6 2DF Shogo Taniguchi (1991-07-15) 15 July 1991 (age 29) 5 0 Kawasaki Frontale
16 2DF Ryoya Ogawa (1996-11-24) 24 November 1996 (age 24) 4 0 FC Tokyo
19 2DF Sho Sasaki (1989-10-02) 2 October 1989 (age 31) 11 0 Sanfrecce Hiroshima
20 2DF Shinnosuke Nakatani (1996-03-24) 24 March 1996 (age 25) 2 0 Nagoya Grampus
22 2DF Miki Yamane (1993-12-22) 22 December 1993 (age 27) 3 1 Kawasaki Frontale

7 3MF Hidemasa Morita (1995-05-10) 10 May 1995 (age 26) 8 2 Santa Clara
8 3MF Genki Haraguchi (1991-05-09) 9 May 1991 (age 30) 60 11 Union Berlin
9 3MF Daichi Kamada (1996-08-05) 5 August 1996 (age 24) 13 4 Eintracht Frankfurt
10 3MF Takumi Minamino (1995-01-16) 16 January 1995 (age 26) 31 16 Liverpool
11 3MF Kyogo Furuhashi (1995-01-20) 20 January 1995 (age 26) 5 3 Vissel Kobe
13 3MF Kento Hashimoto (1993-08-16) 16 August 1993 (age 27) 12 1 Rostov
14 3MF Junya Ito (1993-03-09) 9 March 1993 (age 28) 24 5 Genk
17 3MF Tatsuhiro Sakamoto (1996-10-22) 22 October 1996 (age 24) 1 0 Cerezo Osaka
21 3MF Hayao Kawabe (1995-09-08) 8 September 1995 (age 25) 3 1 Sanfrecce Hiroshima

15 4FW Ado Onaiwu (1995-11-08) 8 November 1995 (age 25) 1 0 Yokohama F. Marinos
18 4FW Takuma Asano (1994-11-10) 10 November 1994 (age 26) 27 5 Unattached
4FW Yuya Osako (1990-05-18) 18 May 1990 (age 31) 49 23 Werder Bremen

Recent call-ups

The following players have been called up to a Japan squad in the last 12 months.
Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Shusaku Nishikawa (1986-06-18) 18 June 1986 (age 34) 31 0 Urawa Red Diamonds v.  Mongolia, 30 March 2021
GK Daiya Maekawa (1994-09-08) 8 September 1994 (age 26) 0 0 Vissel Kobe v.  Mongolia, 30 March 2021

DF Maya Yoshida (captain) (1988-08-24) 24 August 1988 (age 32) 107 11 Sampdoria v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
DF Hiroki Sakai (1990-04-12) 12 April 1990 (age 31) 65 1 Urawa Red Diamonds v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
DF Takehiro Tomiyasu (1998-11-05) 5 November 1998 (age 22) 23 1 Bologna v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
DF Yūta Nakayama (1997-02-16) 16 February 1997 (age 24) 5 0 PEC Zwolle v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
DF Daiki Hashioka (1999-05-17) 17 May 1999 (age 22) 2 0 Sint-Truiden v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
DF Yukinari Sugawara (2000-06-28) 28 June 2000 (age 20) 1 0 AZ v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
DF Shinnosuke Hatanaka (1995-08-25) 25 August 1995 (age 25) 8 0 Yokohama F. Marinos v.  Mongolia, 30 March 2021
DF Ken Matsubara (1993-02-16) 16 February 1993 (age 28) 1 0 Yokohama F. Marinos v.  Mongolia, 30 March 2021
DF Kōki Anzai (1995-05-31) 31 May 1995 (age 26) 5 0 Portimonense v.  Ivory Coast, 13 October 2020

MF Wataru Endo (1993-02-09) 9 February 1993 (age 28) 28 2 VfB Stuttgart v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
MF Ritsu Dōan (1998-06-16) 16 June 1998 (age 22) 20 3 Arminia Bielefeld v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
MF Takefusa Kubo (2001-06-04) 4 June 2001 (age 20) 11 0 Getafe v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
MF Kōji Miyoshi (1997-03-26) 26 March 1997 (age 24) 5 2 Antwerp v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
MF Ko Itakura (1997-01-27) 27 January 1997 (age 24) 5 1 Groningen v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
MF Keita Endo (1997-01-22) 22 January 1997 (age 24) 2 0 Union Berlin v.  Myanmar, 28 May 2021
MF Sho Inagaki (1991-12-25) 25 December 1991 (age 29) 1 2 Nagoya Grampus v.  Mongolia, 30 March 2021
MF Ataru Esaka (1992-05-31) 31 May 1992 (age 29) 1 0 Kashiwa Reysol v.  Mongolia, 30 March 2021
MF Yasuto Wakizaka (1995-06-11) 11 June 1995 (age 26) 1 0 Kawasaki Frontale v.  Mongolia, 30 March 2021
MF Riki Harakawa (1993-08-18) 18 August 1993 (age 27) 0 0 Cerezo Osaka v.  South Korea, 25 March 2021 INJ
MF Gaku Shibasaki (1992-05-28) 28 May 1992 (age 29) 49 3 Leganés v.  Mexico, 17 November 2020
MF Masaya Okugawa (1996-04-14) 14 April 1996 (age 25) 0 0 Arminia Bielefeld v.  Panama, 13 November 2020 WD

FW Musashi Suzuki (1994-02-11) 11 February 1994 (age 27) 9 1 Beerschot v.  Mexico, 17 November 2020
FW Shinji Okazaki (1986-04-16) 16 April 1986 (age 35) 119 50 Huesca v.  Cameroon, 9 October 2020 INJ

INJ Withdrew due to injury
PRE Preliminary squad / standby
RET Retired from the national team
SUS Serving suspension
WD Player withdrew from the squad due to non-injury issue.

(Players are listed within position group by order of latest call-up, caps, and then alphabetically)

Previous squads

Records


Individual records

As of 11 June 2021[63]
Players in bold are still active with Japan.
Most capped player
Yasuhito Endō is Japan's most capped player with 152 appearances
Rank Player Caps Goals Position Career
1Yasuhito Endō15215MF2002–2015
2Yuto Nagatomo1254DF2008–
3Masami Ihara1225DF1988–1999
4Shinji Okazaki11950FW2008–
5Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi1160GK1997–2010
6Makoto Hasebe1142MF2006–2018
7Yuji Nakazawa11017DF1999–2010
8Maya Yoshida10711DF2010–
9Shunsuke Nakamura9824MF2000–2010
Keisuke Honda9837MF2008–2018
Top goalscorers
Kunishige Kamamoto is Japan's top goal scorer with 75 goals
Rank Player Goals Caps Ratio Career
1Kunishige Kamamoto75760.991964–1977
2Kazuyoshi Miura55890.621990–2000
3Shinji Okazaki501190.422008–
4Hiromi Hara37750.491978–1988
Keisuke Honda37980.382008–2018
6Shinji Kagawa31970.322008–2019
7Takuya Takagi27440.611992–1997
8Kazushi Kimura26540.481979–1986
9Shunsuke Nakamura24980.242000–2010
10Yuya Osako23490.472013–
Naohiro Takahara23570.42000–2008

Team records

Updated 23 January 2015[64]

Biggest victory
15–0 vs Philippines, 27 September 1967
Heaviest defeat
15–2 vs Philippines, 10 May 1917
Most consecutive victories
8, 8 August 1970 vs. Indonesia – 17 December 1970 vs. India
8, 14 March 1993 vs. United States – 5 May 1995 vs. Sri Lanka
8, 26 May 1996 vs. Yugoslavia – 12 December 1996 vs. China
Most consecutive matches without defeat
20, 24 June 2010 vs. Denmark – 11 November 2011 vs. Tajikistan
Most consecutive defeats
6, 10 June 1956 vs. South Korea – 28 December 1958 vs. Malaya
Most consecutive matches without victory
11, 13 August 1976 vs. Burma – 15 June 1976 vs. South Korea
Most consecutive draws
4, 13 August 1976 vs. Burma – 20 August 1976 vs. Malaysia
Most consecutive matches scoring
13, 19 December 1966 vs. Singapore – 16 October 1969 vs. Australia
13, 7 February 2004 vs. Malaysia – 24 July 2004 vs. Thailand
Most consecutive matches without scoring
6, 18 June 1989 vs. Hong Kong – 31 July 1990 vs. North Korea
Most consecutive matches conceding a goal
28, 6 November 1960 vs. South Korea – 11 December 1966 vs. Iran
Most consecutive matches without conceding a goal
7, 19 November 2003 vs. Cameroon – 18 February 2004 vs. Oman

Competitive record


  Champions    Runners-up    Third place    Fourth place  

*Denotes draws includes knockout matches decided on penalty shootouts. Red border indicates that the tournament was hosted on home soil. Gold, silver, bronze backgrounds indicate 1st, 2nd and 3rd finishes respectively. Bold text indicates best finish in tournament.

FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup record Qualification record
Year Result Position Pld W D* L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
1930Did not enter No qualification
1934 Did not enter
1938Withdrew Withdrew
1950Suspended from FIFA Suspended from FIFA
1954Did not qualify 201137
1958Did not enter Did not enter
1962Did not qualify 200214
1966Did not enter Did not enter
1970Did not qualify 402248
1974 410354
1978 401305
1982 420242
1986 8512155
1990 623173
1994 13931356
1998Group stage31st300314 159515112
2002Round of 169th421153 Qualified as hosts
2006Group stage28th301227 121101255
2010Round of 169th421142 14842239
2014Group stage29th301226 14833308
2018Round of 1615th411267 181332447
2022To be determined To be determined
2026
TotalRound of 166/21215511202912068262624785

AFC Asian Cup

AFC Asian Cup record Qualification record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Pld W D L GF GA
1956Withdrew Withdrew
1960 Withdrew
1964 Withdrew
1968Did not qualify 431084
1972Withdrew Withdrew
1976Did not qualify 521244
1980Withdrew Withdrew
1984 Withdrew
1988Group stage10th401306 421163
1992Champions1st532063 Qualified as hosts
1996Quarter-finals5th430173 Qualified as champions
2000Champions1st6510216 3300150
2004Champions1st6420136 Qualified as champions
2007Fourth place4th6231117 6501152
2011Champions1st6420146 6501174
2015Quarter-finals5th431081 Qualified as champions
2019Runners-up2nd7601126 8710270
2023Qualified To be determined
Total4 Titles10/18483012692443627459217

CONMEBOL Copa América

Japan is the first team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa América, having been invited to the 1999 Copa América.[7] Japan was also invited to the 2011 tournament and initially accepted the invitation. However, following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the JFA later withdrew on 16 May 2011, citing the difficulty of releasing some Japanese players from European teams to play as replacements.[65] On the next day, CONMEBOL invited Costa Rica to replace Japan in the competition.

On 16 August 2013, CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo announced that Japan was invited to the 2015 Copa América.[66] However, Japan later declined the invitation due to scheduling problems.[67]

On 14 May 2018, CONMEBOL announced that Japan, alongside Qatar, would be the two invited teams for the 2019 Copa América.[68]

CONMEBOL Copa América record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
1999 Group stage10th301238
2011 Withdrew
2015 Withdrew
2019 Group stage9th302137
Total Group stage 2/466033615

FIFA Confederations Cup

FIFA Confederations Cup record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA Squad
1992 Did not qualify
1995 Group stage 6th 2 0 0 2 1 8 Squad
1997 Did not qualify
1999
2001 Runners-up 2nd 5 3 1 1 6 1 Squad
2003 Group stage 6th 3 1 0 2 4 3 Squad
2005 Group stage 5th 3 1 1 1 4 4 Squad
2009 Did not qualify
2013 Group stage 7th 3 0 0 3 4 9 Squad
2017 Did not qualify
Total Runners-up 5/10 16 5 2 9 19 25

Olympic Games

Since 1992, the Olympic team has been drawn from a squad with a maximum of three players over 23 years age, and the achievements of this team are not generally regarded as part of the national team's records, nor are the statistics credited to the players' international records.

Asian Games

Football at the Asian Games has been an under-23 tournament since 2002.
Asian Games record
Year Result Pld W D L GF GA
1951Third place311143
195410th200258
195812th200203
19626th310234
1966Third place7601185
1970Fourth place750285
19749th311154
19789th310255
19825th430163
19869th420294
19908th310233
19947th412195
19989th530284
2002–present See Japan national under-23 football team
Total13/1350254218356

FIFA world rankings


As of 23 April 2021[69]

  Best Ranking    Best Mover    Worst Ranking    Worst Mover  

Japan's FIFA world rankings
Rank Year Games
Played
Won Lost Drawn Best Worst
Rank Move Rank Move
2820212200 27 028 1
2020
282019231535 26 2933 7
50201814635 41 761 5
57201713634 40 757 11
45201610712 45 858 7
532015171151 50 558 8
54201413724 54 244 4
47201319838 21 248 7
22201212822 19 733 11
19201115951 13 1229 2
29201018846 29 1346 6
432009171133 31 443 9
352008191072 32 438 6
34200713751 30 746 5
 47200619946 15 149 13
152005201136 13 519 4
172004221723 17 429 1
29200316655 22 229 3
22200213553 22 838 4
34200113634 26 1144 9
 382000181062 34 1562 6
5719997043 33 057 13
 20199818728 9 1030 10
141997221174 14 420 2
211996131012 20 630 2
31199517647 31 741 8
3619949342 36 1454 12
 431993161132 43 2344 1
661992

Head-to-head record


  • The following table shows Japan's all-time international record, correct as of 13 October 2020.
Confederation Pld W D L GF GA GD
AFC498261104133960539+421
CAF3621785635+21
CONCACAF2716566230+32
CONMEBOL6316182963105–42
OFC6303108+2
UEFA112342355137186–49
Total7403501562341,288903+385

Honours


Titles

Intercontinental
Bronze medalists: 1968
Runners-up: 2001
Continental
Champions: 1992, 2000, 2004, 2011
Runners-up: 2019
Fourth place: 2007
Third place: 1951, 1966
Fourth place: 1970
Regional
Champions: 1930
Champions: 1992, 1995, 1998
Fourth place: 1990
Runners-up: 2003, 2005, 2008
Third place: 2010
Champions: 2013
Fourth place: 2015
Runners-up: 2017,2019
Other
Champions: 1993, 2007
Champions: 2001
Minor-friendly
Champions: (12): 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015

Awards

Years: 2000, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011
Years: 2002

See also


National teams
Men's
Women's

Notes


  1. The match between Mongolia and Japan will be played in Chiba, Japan.[57]

References


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