With little to play for and five Uzbekistan regulars suspended, the eyes of the stadium will be on 19-year-old Ryo Miyaichi as the youngster could potentially earn his first cap
Inoha, Konno, Yoshida, Nagatomo
Fujimoto, Kagawa, Havenaar
Ismailov, Tadjiev, Filiposyan, Inomov
Haydarov, Andreev, Kapadze, Kilichev
In this final match of Asia's third round of World cup qualifications, both Japan and Uzbekistan know that they have already booked their trip to the final round beginning in June. All that's left to play for is a bit of pride, as Uzbekistan can capture Group C with a win or draw.
The visitors will be missing five regulars, all of whom received deliberate yellow cards in November in order to clean the slate before the fourth round. Additionally, midfielder Azizbek Haydarov is questionable after recently catching a cold and may not be at top fitness.
Uzbekistan will likely play for the draw against a determined Samurai Blue squad, who have called up their regular assortment of European stars as well as a couple surprises, the biggest of whom is 19-year-old Ryo Miyaichi who has broke through recently at Bolton. He'll join Southampton's Tadanari Lee, Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa, Stuttgart's Shinji Okazaki, and Vitesse's Mike Havenaar in a gathering of Japan's new generation of goal-scorers.
Although Japan is all but guaranteed a top seed in the final round of qualifying due to their Fifa ranking, they will take this match seriously as Uzbekistan will provide a model example for potential opponents in June. Their focus be on scoring - not just the first goal, but the second and third as well.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- In their last meeting in September, Japan drew 1-1 with Uzbekistan in Tashkent on a 66th-minute goal from Shinji Okazaki after giving up an early lead.
- The match will be manager Alberto Zaccheroni's 20th at the helm of Japan.
- Domestic broadcaster TBS will train an exclusive slow-motion camera on Ryo Miyaichi. Players previously given such treatment include Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda.
- Uzbekistan hope to qualify for their first-ever World Cup finals appearance. The closest they have gotten is in 2006, when they lost a fourth round play-off against Bahrain on away goals.
- The Central Asian nation lost 4-2 to South Korea last Saturday in a friendly.