The SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) played in an international friendly match against Mexico National Team on Tuesday 17 November (Wednesday 18 in Japan) at Stadion Graz Liebenau, Graz, Austria. After conceding two goals in the second half, Japan lost the match 0-2, suffering their first loss of the year in their final match of the year.
With this match against Mexico being their last test match ahead of the second round of the Asian qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, which will resume next March, Japan rotated nine players from their starting line-up against Panama. SCHMIDT Daniel (Sint-Truidense V.V.) started in goal with YOSHIDA Maya (U.C. Sampdoria), TOMIYASU Takehiro (Bologna FC 1909), NAKAYAMA Yuta (PEC Zwolle), and SAKAI Hiroki (Olympique de Marseille) forming the four-back defence line. SHIBASAKI Gaku (CD Leganes) and ENDO Wataru (VfB Stuttgart) were named as the defensive midfielders, while HARAGUCHI Genki (Hannover 96) and ITO Junya (KRC Genk) were placed in the flanks. With SUZUKI Musashi (Beerschot AC) playing as the lone striker, KAMADA Daichi (Eintracht Frankfurt) filled in the number 10 position.
Mexico on the other hand, also rotated six players from their match against Korea Republic, mixing up players who have played in the World Cup in 2018, such as their veteran GK Guillermo OCHOA, and young players to start off the match against Japan. The match started with Mexico applying aggressive pressure in pursuit to take the initiative, but Japan showed great transitions to evade the pressure and to create opportunities to threaten the Mexican goal. .....
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