2018 FIFA World Cup- Japan Profile



After topping group B of Asian qualifying Japan will be hoping to surprise in Russia. Having just recently recruited Akira Nishino the Samurai Blue will be hoping that the experienced coach will be able to guide the team out of a tricky looking group H, taking on the likes of Colombia, Poland and Senegal. 


  • Japan only conceded 7 goals in 10 qualification games on route to making it to Russia 2018. 

  • Legendary midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata is the all-time leading appearance maker for the Samurai Blue, appearing 10 times over three World Cups. 

  • Japan has only won once in their last five World Cup games, A 3-1 victory over Denmark at the 2010 tournament. 


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  • Formation- 1921

  • President- Kozo Tashima

  • Website- http://www.jfa.jp/eng/

  • FIFA Ranking- 55

  • World Cup Appearances- 5


How did they qualify? 

A 2-0 win over Australia sealed Japan's place at the 2018 World Cup, with the Samurai Blue eventually topping group B of Asian qualifying. 


Coach Akira Nishino

Experienced coach Akira Nishino took charge of the Japan side in April 2018. Nishino has appeared for the national team on a handful of occasions in the 70's but boasts an impressive domestic CV, with Nishino taking charge of some of the biggest sides in Japan including Gamba Osaka & Vissel Kobe. 

Star Man Maya Yoshida

Southampton defender Yoshida has been a mainstay in the Japan set-up, having appeared at both the 2010 & 2014 World Cups with the Samurai Blue. The 29-year old's experience will be vital if Japan is to navigate their way out of group H. 

Preparation (2018 matches)


  1. Japan 1 Mali 1

  2. Japan 1 Ukraine 2

  3. Japan 0 Ghana 2

  4. Switzerland 2 Japan 0

  5. Japan 4 Paraguay 2

World Cup History


This will be Japan's sixth consecutive visit to a World Cup. Appearances in the round of 16 in 2002 & 2010 remain their best achievements at the world finals to date. 

Group stage schedule


6/19 Colombia Vs Japan

15:00 pm

 beIN HD

6/24 Japan Vs Senegal

18:00 pm


 6/28 Japan Vs Poland

 17:00 pm


Squad list


Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol).

Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino, Wataru Endo (both Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji, Naomichi Ueda (both Kashima Antlers).

Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Hertha Berlin), Takashi Usami (Augsburg), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale).

Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz).