Football: Rising Japan face test of resolve at Asian Cup


Amid a chorus of European club managers moaning about the midseason loss of key Japanese players, the Samurai Blue are looking to lift the Asian Cup in Qatar en route to their pursuit of even loftier goals, the 2026 World Cup.

Managing Asian football’s highest-placed team in the FIFA rankings at 17th, Hajime Moriyasu has pulled some surprises but “assembled the best members to win” the Asian Cup, with the tournament’s most successful team seeking their fifth championship to widen the gap over three-time winners Iran and Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve been saying we’ll look to win the Asian Cup after sett...

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