The SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) suffered their second loss in the final round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ Asian qualifiers (Road to Qatar) on Thursday 7 October, losing 0-1 to the Saudi Arabia National Team in Jeddah after conceding a goal midway into the second half. The team will now head back to Japan to face Australia, the leader of Group B, in Saitama on Tuesday 12th.
Entering the match in fourth place with one win and one loss, Japan desperately needed to accumulate points in order to move up to the top two spots to qualify for the World Cup. With the team facing the Saudi Arabian side who has won back to back matches to start the final round, coach MORIYASU Hajime made four changes to the starting line-up since their match against China PR in September.
With SAKAI Hiroki (Urawa Red Diamonds) returning to the line-up, MINAMINO Takumi (Liverpool FC), KAMADA Daichi (Eintracht Frankfurt), and ASANO Takuma (VfL Bochum 1848) were named in the midfield. For Minamino, this was his first start since the KIRIN CHALLENGE CUP 2021 fixture against Serbia in June, while Asano returned to the starting line-up since the second round fixture against Kyrgyz Republic in June. .....
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