Vahid Halilhodzic expects Japan to go out for revenge against Singapore in Thursday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier and secure qualification for the tournament as quickly as possible with a win.
The Samurai Blue currently sit second in Group E, level on points with their upcoming opponents and two behind leaders Syria, albeit having played a game less than both.
And Halilhozic’s aim is to rectify the sole hiccup they suffered in their campaign so far – when Japan were held to a 0-0 draw by Singapore in Saitama – with victories against Thursday’s hosts, and Cambodia next.
“These [Singapore and Cambodia] will be our last two matches of the year, and we want to end the year successfully,” the trainer told reporters ahead of the match.
“Our objective is to win both of these matches. Our first encounter with Singapore was a bitter experience, and we’ve discussed it in great detail.”
“I think my players will be looking for revenge.”
Lions goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud had put on an inspired performance during the stalemate in June, but Halilhodzic insists there were no excuses for his men, who he urged to fight complacency this time out.
“Our opponents may not be at our level but the results aren’t previously decided. I think everyone saw that [in June]; we played to win but we couldn’t. We weren’t realists and couldn’t finish [Singapore] off.
“Singapore’s players will be fighting for their country, and I think we’ll be looking to win through our quality and determination.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on the players, but I’ve told them to wrap up the group as much as possible this year.”