J.League stars join national team as Samurai Blue prepares for World Cup

J.League stars join national team as Samurai Blue prepares for World Cup

The Japan National Team will once again be full of Meiji Yasuda J.League stars of today and the past as a month of international football gets underway.

The Samurai Blue are set for four home friendlies in June against quality opponents as part of the crucial preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Among the current J.League cohort in the national team setup, Kawasaki Frontale have sent two players in Miki Yamane and Shogo Taniguchi, continuing the pair’s regular inclusion in the squad. The league’s current top scorer, Kashima Antlers’ Ayase Ueda, is also in the team, as is F.C.Tokyo and Samurai Blue legend Yuto Nagamoto.

Between the sticks, Shimizu S-Pulse’s Shuichi Gonda and Sanfrecce Hiroshima’s Keisuke Osako make up two of the four goalkeepers in the squad.

Outside of the current J.League crop is a squad full of Japanese club alumni. Maya Yoshida, a product of the Nagoya Grampus academy and senior team, will once again serve as the captain. Recent Europa League winner at Eintracht Frankfurt and Sagan Tosu product Daichi Kamada has also been named to the team again.

A pair of recent league winners at Celtic FC in Scotland are in the squad, as both Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda have been called into the Samurai Blue. Both were J.League stars just last season, Furuhashi at Vissel and Maeda at Yokohama F·Marinos, before joining Celtic and finishing atop the Scottish Premiership in 2021/22.

Japan will play Paraguay on June 2 at the Sapporo Dome, home of Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo. They will then take on Brazil on June 6 at the Japan National Stadium. The Samurai Blue will then match up against Ghana at Vissel Kobe’s Noevir Stadium Kobe on June 10 before squaring off against Chile or Tunisia on June 14 at Gamba Osaka’s Panasonic Stadium Suita.