Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu has named a potent squad to face Trinidad and Tobago in the international friendly in Aichi on June 5th. The game will be the first of the 2019 Kirin Challenge Cup which also involves El Salvador.
The squad includes seventeen European-based players including Leicester city forward Shinji Okazaki and Werder Bremen frontman Yuya Osaka. Also on the roster is German-based midfielder Genki Haraguchi of Hannover 96, Shinji Kagawa of Turkish club Besiktas, Gaku Shibasaki of Spain’s Getafe, Junya Ito of KRC Genk, defender Naomichi Ueda of Belgium’s Cercle Brugge, Yuto Nagatomo of Galatasaray and fellow defender Hiroki Sakai of Olympique Marseille as well as goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima of French club RC Strasbourg.
Moriyasu also called up 17-year-old midfielder Kubo Takefusa of FC Tokyo. He became the second youngest player ever to be selected to the Japan National Team, second only to Daisuke Ichikawa. Kubo has been a highly anticipated prospect coming out from the youth system of FC Barcelona. More recently, he has been playing as one of the key players of F.C. Tokyo to propel his side to the league lead with his goal scoring abilities.
The game against T&T takes place on June 5th at 730pm Japan time at the Toyota Stadium in Aichi. The hosts then face El Salvador on June 9th as they prepare for the 2019 Copa America. Japan will begin its 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in September this year.
Moriyasu spoke about the upcoming matches against T&T and El Salvador, saying “They are strong teams who are preparing themselves for the Gold Cup, so they will come out with a strong intention to win. Through these two matches, we will strive to deepen the strategical understandings among the team and prepare ourselves ahead of the upcoming qualifiers for the World Cup.”
“It is our mission to win through the competition in Asia to earn our spot into the World Cup.Through each of our activities, we must build our team strengths and strive to win out of the qualifiers,” he added.
T&T head coach Dennis Lawrence will announce his squad on Thursday with the team scheduled to have just a couple more sessions on home soil before departing for Japan via New York on Friday.
Defender Carlyle Mitchell, one of the surviving members of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign, said he expects the upcoming match to be a tough but valuable exercise for T&T.
“It’s going to be a very tough game for us but it will serve us well heading into the Gold Cup. We know Japan to be a solid and technically sound team. We saw them at the last World Cup. I’ve played in a similar league before in South Korea which is their main rivals and over there they are extremely serious and passionate about their football. This will be a great experience for our team but we must go there and be prepared to compete well and give a strong showing,’ Michell told TTFA Media.
“So far our preparations have been good. The guys are coming along and we are pacing ourselves with the intentions of getting to a satisfactory level in time for the Gold Cup. These two games against Japan and Canada will be a good test for us in time for the Panama opener on June 18th,” Mitchell added.
(Photo at top shows T&T squad during their warm up this morning at Ato Boldon Stadium. Photo/TTFA Media)
KAWASHIMA Eiji (RC Strasbourg/France)
GONDA Shuichi (Portimonense S.C./Portugal)
SCHMIDT Daniel (Vegalta Sendai)
OSAKO Keisuke (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)*
NAGATOMO Yuto (Galatasaray S.K./Turkey)
MAKINO Tomoaki (Urawa Red Diamonds)
SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille/France)
SHOJI Gen (Toulouse Football Club/France)
MUROYA Sei (F.C. Tokyo)
UEDA Naomichi (Cercle Brugge K.S.V./Belgium)
HATANAKA Shinnosuke (Yokohama F･Marinos)
NAKAYAMA Yuta (PEC Zwolle/Netherlands)*
TOMIYASU Takehiro (Sint-Truidense V.V./Belgium)
KAGAWA Shinji (Besiktas J.K./Turkey)
HARAGUCHI Genki (Hannover 96/Germany)
KOBAYASHI Yuki (SC Heerenveen/Netherlands)
SHIBASAKI Gaku (Getafe C.F./Spain)
ITO Junya (K.R.C. Genk/Belgium)
HASHIMOTO Kento (F.C. Tokyo)
NAKAJIMA Shoya (Al Duhail SC/Qatar)
MINAMINO Takumi (FC Red Bull Salzburg/Austria)
MORITA Hidemasa (Kawasaki Frontale)
DOAN Ritsu (FC Groningen/Netherlands)
KUBO Takefusa (F.C. Tokyo)*
OKAZAKI Shinji (Leicester City Football Club/England)
OSAKO Yuya (Werder Bremen/Germany)
SUZUKI Musashi (Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo)