Japan Data

Japan Announces Squad for 2018 World Cup

Culture

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will kick off on June 14. Here we look at the 23 members of the Japanese men’s national soccer team.

On May 31, the Japan Football Association announced the final 23 members of the Japanese men’s national soccer team that will compete at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The final squad, reduced from a preliminary 27-man roster announced on May 21, was chosen following a 2–0 loss against Ghana in a friendly match on May 30 at Yokohama Stadium that served as the final evaluation for selection.

In an unusual move, the JFA in April replaced former national team manager Vahid Halilhodžić after three years at the helm with Nishino Akira, leaving the new skipper an incredibly short period of time to prepare his squad for the World Cup. Facing this situation, Nishino opted for experience over recent performance and condition to assemble a veteran-rich team that includes players capable of playing several positions.

The squad will head to Europe for friendlies against Switzerland on June 8 and Paraguay on June 12 before traveling to Russia for their opening World Cup match against Colombia on June 19.

Japan has appeared in six straight World Cups, starting with France in 1998, but has only made it out of the group stage twice, in 2002 and 2010, and has yet to advance beyond the first round of the knock-out stage. Japan has posted four victories, nine losses, and four draws in 17 World Cup matches and scored 14 goals while giving up 22.

Japan’s National Team World Cup Schedule

(Dates and times in Japan)

Group Stage Matches (Group H) Opponent
June 19 (Tue)  9 pm Colombia
June 25 (Mon)  12 pm Senegal
June 28 (Thu)  11 pm Poland

Japan’s 2018 World Cup Team

(Match data current as of May 31, 2018)

Manager

Nishino Akira

Date of birth: April 7, 1955Managing history 1991-1992 Japan’s U-20 national team 1994-1996 Japan’s U-23 national team (Atlanta Olympics) 1998-2001 Kashiwa Reysol 2002-2011 Gamba Osaka 2012 Vissel Kobe 2014-2015 Nagoya Grampus

Goalkeepers

Kawashima Eiji

Date of birth: March 20, 1983 Height: 185 cm 83 caps / 85 goals allowed Club: Metz (France)

Higashiguchi Masaaki

Date of birth: May 12, 1986 Height: 184 cm 4 caps / 5 goals allowed Club: Gamba Osaka

Nakamura Kōsuke

Date of birth: February 27, 1995 Height: 185 cm 3 caps / 5 goals allowed Club: Kashiwa Reysol

Defenders

Nagatomo Yūto

Date of birth: September 12, 1986 Height: 170 cm 104 caps / 3 goals Club: Galatasaray (Turkey)

Makino Tomoaki

Date of birth: May 11, 1987 Height: 182 cm 31 caps / 4 goals Club: Urawa Reds

Yoshida Maya

Date of birth: August 24, 1988 Height: 189 cm 81 caps / 10 goals Club: Southampton FC (England)

Sakai Hiroki

Date of birth: April 12, 1990 Height: 183 cm 41 caps / 0 goals Club: Olympique de Marseille (France)

Sakai Gōtoku

Date of birth: March 14, 1991 Height: 176 cm 39 caps / 0 goals Club: Hamburger SV (Germany)

Shōji Gen

Date of birth: December 11, 1992 Height: 182 cm 11 caps / 1 goal Club: Kashima Antlers

Endō Wataru

Date of birth: February 9, 1993 Height: 178 cm 11 caps / 0 goals Club: Urawa Reds

Ueda Naomichi

Date of birth: October 24, 1994 Height: 186 cm 3 caps / 0 goals Club: Kashima Antlers

Midfielders

Honda Keisuke

Date of birth: June 13, 1986 Height: 182 cm 94 caps / 36 goals Club: CF Pachuca (Mexico)

Shibasaki Gaku

Date of birth: May 28, 1992 Height: 175 cm 16 caps / 3 goals Club: Getafe CF (Spain)

Haraguchi Genki

Date of birth: May 9, 1991 Height: 177 cm 31 caps / 6 goals Club: Fortuna Düsseldorf (Germany)

Kagawa Shinji

Date of birth: March 17, 1989 Height: 175 cm 90 caps / 29 goals Club: Borussia Dortmund (Germany)

Yamaguchi Hotaru

Date of birth: October 6, 1990 Height: 173 cm 41 caps / 2 goals Club: Cerezo Osaka

Hasebe Makoto

Date of birth: January 18, 1984 Height: 180 cm 109 national caps / 2 goals scored Club: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)

Inui Takashi

Date of birth: June 22, 1988 Height: 169 cm 25 caps / 2 goals Club: SD Eibar (Spain)

Usami Takashi

Date of birth: May 6, 1992 Height: 180 cm 22 caps / 3 goals Club: Fortuna Düsseldorf (Germany)

Ōshima Ryōta

Date of birth: January 23, 1993 Height: 168 cm 4 caps / 0 goals Club: Kawasaki Frontale

Forwards

Okazaki Shinji

Date of birth: April 16, 1986 Height: 174 cm 112 caps / 50 goals Club: Leicester City (England)

Ōsako Yūya

Date of birth: May 18, 1990 Height: 182 cm 27 caps / 7 goals Club: SV Werder Bremen (Germany)

Mutō Yoshinori

Date of birth: July 15, 1992 Height: 178 cm 22 caps / 2 goals Club: 1. FSV Mainz 05 (Germany)
(Originally written in Japanese. Photographs provided by the Japan Football Association)

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