Visitors' hope to secure their spot in the next round of qualifying with a win, while outgunned Tajikistan are simply aiming to sandbag for as long as they can
Radzhabov, Ergashev, Savankulov, Sabourov
Fatkhulloev, Davronov, Rabimov, Ortikov
Uchida, Yoshida, Konno, Komano
Okazaki, Nakamura, Kagawa
Japan will try to punch their ticket to the next round of World Cup qualifying with two key away matches to end their 2011 international season, while Tajikistan hope to keep their slim qualifying hopes alive.
For the visitors, Friday's match brings challenges of the environmental sort. Japan clearly have the upper hand in talent, having dominated in last month’s 8-0 victory in Osaka. But the hosts will be prepared to handle conditions much different from that of Nagai Stadium. Tajikistan has already seen significant snowfall this autumn, and the pitch at Duschanbe Stadium has been described as "mostly dirt" by Japan captain Makoto Hasebe.
Because of the ground conditions, Japan are expected to forgo their usual passing game and rely on the long ball, meaning 1.94m striker Mike Havenaar is likely to earn another start.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Three different players scored braces in Japan's 8-0 win over Tajikistan last month.
- Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni is undefeated in all 16 matches since assuming his post.
- Tajikistan have lost their last five matches, scoring just one goal and conceding 16.
- This is Japan's first trip to Tajikistan.
- Japanese centre-back Yasayuki Konno and midfielder/captain Makoto Hasebe are the only players to have started every match under Zaccheroni.
- The Tajik capital of Dushanbe means "Monday" in Persian; it was originally built on the site of a Monday market.