Football: Japan to play 1st New Year’s Day friendly vs Thailand


Japan’s national men’s team, the Samurai Blue, will warm up for the Asian Cup in Qatar with its first New Year’s Day friendly, against Thailand at Tokyo’s National Stadium, the Japan Football Association announced Thursday.

The Asian Cup, hosted by Qatar, kicks off on Jan. 12. Japan are currently 19th in FIFA’s world rankings, while Thailand are 112th, with Japan holding a 16-2 win-loss record with four draws in their matches.

Japan, seeking their fifth Asian Cup championship and their first in three tournaments, have been drawn in Group D, along with Indonesia, Iraq and Vietnam. Thailand have...

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