Japan will revert to their usual formation and veteran Kengo Nakamura is expected to start, but whether they can overcome the expected stingy defending of Tajikistan is to be seen
Komano, Yoshida, Konno, Nagatomo
Okazaki, Nakamura, Kagawa
Radzhabov, Ergashev, Savankulov, Sabourov
Fatkhulloev, Davronov, Rabimov, Ortikov
After the 3-4-3 formation failed to produce significant results against Vietnam, Japan are likely to revert to their recently-favoured 4-2-3-1, with Kengo Nakamura in the second line behind Lee.
Shinji Okazaki is expected to be able to play again after being omitted from the Vietnam friendly due to a leg injury, and Yasuhito Endo is also expected to play although whether or not he'll be able to make his trademark free-kicks is a point of concern.
Tajikstan will be playing for the draw and their first point of this qualifying round; despite the expected 4-4-2 formation they'll almost certainly be playing with 11 men behind the ball. They gave North Korea and Uzbekistan runs for their money in two 1-0 losses, and unless Japan score early it may be hard for the blue samurai to break down the Tajik wall.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- This will be the first match between these two countries.
- Tajikistan are winless in their last five matches, while Japan are unbeaten in 16. Japan manager Alberto Zaccheroni would top former manager Zico's streak of 14 unbeaten with a win or draw.
- Tajikistan only reached this stage of qualifying after Syria were disqualified by Fifa for fielding an ineligible player during the second round.
- Japan's 23-man squad includes 10 players based in Europe. All of Tajikistan's 17 players play domestically; 11 belong to reigning Tajik League champions Esteghlal Dushanbe.
- In the four matches played by both countries so far this round, no team has scored more than one goal.