On Tuesday 29 March, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team), who had already clinched the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, played their final match of the AFC Asian Qualifiers (Road to Qatar) against the Vietnam National Team at Saitama Stadium 2002, where they tied 1-1 to finish second in Group B. The draw for the group stage of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will take place on Friday 1 April in Doha.
After securing their automatic qualification to the World Cup with their win over Australia on Thursday 24, coach MORIYASU Hajime rotated nine players for their final match played at home, where they could lock-up the group lead with a win. Veteran goalkeeper KAWASHIMA Eiji (RC Strasbourg) was given the start, with YAMANE Miki (Kawasaki Frontale), YOSHIDA Maya (UC Sampdoria), TANIGUCHI Shogo (Kawasaki Frontale), and NAKAYAMA Yuta (PEC Zwolle) forming the four-man defence line. SHIBASAKI Gaku (CD Leganes), HARAGUCHI Genki (1.FC Union Berlin), and HATATE Reo (Celtic FC) were named as the central midfielders, while KUBO Takefusa (RCD Mallorca) and MITOMA Kaoru (Royale Union Saint‑Gilloise) were placed in the flanks with UEDA Ayase (Kashima Antlers) playing as the lone striker.
Japan, who entered the match with a fresh-looking line-up in a 4-3-3 formation, looked as if they have started off on the wrong foot, as the players seemed overly determined to make the most of the opportunity. With the home side being out of sync with each other, Vietnam took advantage of the mistakes made by the Japanese players to initiate counterattacks. .....
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