On Friday 10 June, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) played their first match of the KIRIN CUP SOCCER 2022, which was held for the first time in six years, against the Ghana National Team at Noevir Stadium Kobe. Propelled by the goal and assist of MITOMA Kaoru (Royale Union Saint‑Gilloise) and KUBO Takefusa’s (RCD Mallorca) first international goal at the senior level, Japan won the match 4-1 to advance to the title match. Japan will now face Tunisia at Panasonic Stadium Suita on Tuesday 14 June.
Entering their third match of the four-match series leading up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in November, Japan rotated nearly the entire starting line-up against Brazil four days earlier, with the exception of YOSHIDA Maya (UC Sampdoria) and ENDO Wataru (VfB Stuttgart).
Veteran goalkeeper KAWASHIMA Eiji (RC Strasbourg) started in goal, with YAMANE Miki (Kawasaki Frontale), Yoshida, TANIGUCHI Shogo (Kawasaki Frontale), and ITO Hiroki (VfB Stuttgart) forming the defence line. Kubo, SHIBASAKI Gaku (CD Leganes), and Endo were placed in the midfield, while DOAN Ritsu (PSV Eindhoven) and Mitoma started in the flanks with UEDA Ayase (Kashima Antlers) in the number nine role. For Ueda, Shibasaki, and Kawashima, this was their first start since the AFC Qualifiers match against Vietnam in March this year. .....
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