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
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.