Japan set to take on Germany, Turkey with squad of J.League products

Japan set to take on Germany, Turkey with squad of J.League products

Japan’s march to the 2023 Asian Cup continues this week with a pair of friendlies against two European sides, Germany and Turkey.

The Samurai Blue are familiar with Germany, having beaten the four-time world champions just last year at the World Cup. Now, they are set to meet in Wolfsburg to kick off the week of internationals.

After that, Japan will head to Belgium to take on Turkey, who made headlines on Japanese soil back in 2002 with a dream run to the World Cup semi-finals.

Hajime Moriyasu has selected a 26-player squad for these friendlies and, as is always the case, the team is made up of current and former J.League products.

The current J.League contingent is an inexperienced group, with Sanfrecce Hiroshima goalkeeper Keisuke Osako and his four caps the most experienced of the bunch. Nagoya Grampus’ Ryoya Morishita and Urawa Reds’ Atsuki Ito are in the team, while Cerezo Osaka’s Seiya Maikuma could get his first cap.

Leading the way for the rest of the team is Shonan Bellmare academy product, new Liverpool player and Samurai Blue captain Wataru Endo. Former Kawasaki Frontale man Kaoru Mitoma, who is shining as one of the Premier League’s best players at Brighton and Hove Albion, is also in the team.

The Asian Cup begins in just four months and Moriyasu has his eyes set on leading the Samurai Blue to a record fifth continental crown. Matches like these against strong European sides make for excellent preparation and Japan will certainly be ready to show their best as they get ready for the upcoming tournament.