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2014 World Cup Nation Profile: Japan

2014 World Cup Nation Profile Japan

Photo Courtesy of Openclipart.org

The 2014 World Cup is approaching fast as we are less than 40 days until the first kickoff. We will be previewing each participating country over the next two weeks in order to give you a little background on how that nation qualified for the World Cup as well as some key players to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses. We continue our coverage with Japan.

2014 World Cup Nation Profile

Confederation: AFC
Manager: Alberto Zaccheroni
2014 FIFA World Cup Group: C
FIFA World Rank: 47 (as of April 2014)
Qualifying Record (W-D-L): 8-3-3
All-Time FIFA World Cup Record (W-D-L): 4-3-7

Impact Players

1. Shinji Okazaki — Mainz 05 (Germany), 2. Shinji Kagawa — Manchester United (English Premier League) and 3. Keisuke Honda — AC Milan (Italian Serie A) — Japan is the fourth best team in this group, there is no question about that. The best option for their nation will be to attempt to make the buildup to attack very difficult for their opponents. The best way for them to do that will be to plug the midfield with numbers defensively and try to play counter-attacking football.

These three players (Okazaki, Kagawa and Honda) will be very important in both aspects of that approach. Okazaki and Kagawa should be lined up at the wing position in the starting XI but do not be surprised to see them slide closer to the middle of the field as the matches go on.

Group Stage Schedule

June 14: vs. Ivory CoastArena Pernambuco (Recife), 9:00 p.m. EDT
June 19: vs. Greece, Arena das Dunas (Natal), 6:00 p.m. EDT
June 24: vs. ColombiaArena Panatanal (Cuiaba), 4:00 p.m. EDT

Prediction

I do not see any scenario where Japan advances past the group stage. Their role in this tournament will be spoiler which is a shame for them considering the overall weakness of Group C.

Check back in with Stoppage Time Soccer for all of your 2014 World Cup news and notes from training camps all the way through the Final.

Matthew Evans is a soccer writer for Stoppage Time Soccer. “Like” him on Facebook, Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google

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