Japan coach on tactical plan to stop Senegal at World Cup

Akira Nishino shares his thoughts on his game plan for Sunday's showdown at the global showpiece

Japan coach Akira Nishino has shed light on how he intends to keep Senegal at bay in Sunday's clash at the World Cup in Russia

The two sides are set to face off at Yekaterinburg's Central Stadium in Group H's matchday two action. 

The Teranga Lions dispatched Poland 2-1 on the opening day while the Samurai Blue saw off a Colombian challenge by the same score, effectively setting things up for an exciting match-up.

"The image that we have about African teams is that they’re very physical and their physicality is superior and we have to cope with that. We have to think that as the first thing," Nishino said. 

"But Senegal, in addition to physicality and speed, the individual players are very organised at the same time. 

"In order to capitalize, they know how to defend in an organised manner. They can get hold of the ball and take possession of it. 

"They’re disciplined. As a team, they’re well organised, so we have to be very careful."

Japan could book a ticket for the next round with victory on Sunday.

"For the past few days, I’ve been telling them [my players] to grow five centimetres and five kilograms, so we’re going to have to do something else. We need counter measures," Nishino continued.

"Of course there’s a ball, and through the ball, and using the ball, we’re going to take on Senegal. 

"If there’s a lot of physical contact, then we’ll be disadvantaged.

"We will have to make some variations and then we can use our quickness. We need to use the ball well. 

"Their weak point – I can’t come up with that now."

It will be the fourth international meeting between the two sides at senior men's level, but just their first at the World Cup.

"Individual speed is a concern for us," added, the Japanese coach.

"We’re going to have to defend as a group but they have the power and speed. So, even if we defend as a team, there’s a chance individuals can break us down. 

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"We always have to come up with some measures. They can really play forward, so we have to slow them down, block them. 

"We need to really come up with strategies and tactics to stop them."