Japan - Jordan Preview: Heavily-favoured Samurai Blue hope for second straight win
Visiting Jordan have proven themselves capable of holding their ground against Japan in the past, but will need more than a little luck in Friday night's encounter
By Dan Orlowitz
Uchida, Yoshida, Konno, Nagatomo
Okazaki, Honda, Kagawa
Fathi, A. Yaseen, B. Yaseen, Ateyah
Al Saify, Al Dardour, Deeb
After their 3-0 win over Oman on Sunday, high-flying Japan will be looking to continue their good form heading into their crucial away leg at Australia on Tuesday. Coach Alberto Zaccheroni has little reason to change his tested line-up, and the atmosphere at Saitama Stadium will be electric following the mid-week announcement of Shinji Kagawa's transfer to Manchester United. Back from his long international hiatus, Keisuke Honda will be just as eager to prove that he belongs at a big club and could extend his scoring streak.
On the other side of the pitch, Jordan will have an uphill battle after an average match against Iraq resulted in a 1-1 draw. Goalkeeper Amer Shafia saved his team from a loss but lacked attacking support; the squad as a whole will have to do much better against their superior opponents if they hope to steal a crucial away point. Abdallah Deeb may replace Amer Deeb at attacking midfielder after the latter's poor display against Iraq, while Hatem Aqel could start in a 4-4-2 formation if manager Adnan Hamad chooses to park the bus against Japan's offensive weapons.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Japan are 13-6-2 under Alberto Zaccheroni; his winning percentage of 87.5 per cent is the best of any Samurai Blue coach.
- Shinji Okazaki leads the team with six goals in Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
- The two teams last faced each other in the 2011 Asian Cup, which ended in a 1-1 draw after Maya Yoshida's last-minute goal.
- Jordan are looking to qualify for their first World Cup finals.
- Iraqi coach Adnan Hamad has managed the team since 2009, and guided them to the quarter-finals of the 2011 Asian Cup.
- Striker Ahmad Hayel (right) plays for Jordan champions Al Faisaly.
|Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Sign up today with Coral and get a £50 FREE bet - no strings attached!|
|Sign up today with BetVictor and get a £25 FREE BET!|
|Sign up with Betway for an exclusive bet £10 get £20 free bet!|
Top 3 Predictions
Japan 2-0 Jordan
- 19.37 %
Japan 3-0 Jordan
- 13.42 %
Japan 2-1 Jordan
- 11 %
|World Cup Qualifying - Asia (WCQ)||Mar 26, 2013||Jordan 2 - Japan 1|
|World Cup Qualifying - Asia (WCQ)||Jun 8, 2012||Japan 6 - Jordan 0|
|Asia - Asian Cup (ASIA)||Jan 9, 2011||Japan 1 - Jordan 1|
|Nov 19, 2013||Belgium 2 - Japan 3||FR|
|Nov 16, 2013||Netherlands 2 - Japan 2||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Belarus 1 - Japan 0||FR|
|Oct 11, 2013||Serbia 2 - Japan 0||FR|
|Sep 10, 2013||Japan 3 - Ghana 1||FR|
|19||Anas Bani Yaseen||Defender|
|6||Saeed Al Murjan||Midfielder|
|14||Abdallah Deeb Salim||Striker|
|9||Odai Al Saify||Striker|
|18||Thaer Al Bawab||Striker|
|-||Abdullah Al Zoubi|
|-||Bashar Bani Yaseen|
|5||Mohammad Al Dumeiri||Defender|
|-||Suliman Al Salman|
|11||Ra'ed Al Nawateer||Striker|
|20||Hamza Al Daradreh||Striker|
|15||Shadi Abu Hashhash||Midfielder|
In his first match since his groundbreaking transfer to Manchester United was announced, Kagawa will be looking to prove himself worthy of a regular spot under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
The Al-Whadat goalkeeper is approaching 80 caps for his country but, like Oman keeper Ali Al-Habsi before him, Jordan's success or failure against a strong Japan attack will rest on his shoulders.
Jordan are slightly more prepared to face Japan than Oman were on Sunday, but the hosts are running on all cylinders and will be able to repel any threat with relative ease. A lucky goal could put the visitors in contention for a draw if Japan loses focus.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed