News Matches
World Cup

Japan World Cup 2022 squad, predicted line-up versus Croatia and star players

11:00 GMT+3 05/12/2022
Japan Minamino Kubo Tomiyasu
Japan have surprised many by topping the so-called group of death to reach the last 16. But who is in Hajime Moriyasu's squad?

Japan have been turning heads at the World Cup with their performances on the pitch. They have beaten two former World champions in Germany and Spain respectively and have finished on top of Group E to progress to the knockouts.

Their best-ever performance at the World Cup has been reaching the round of 16 on three different occasions, and they will be looking to surprise football fans around the world in the 2022 edition by going one step further, at what will be the team's seventh consecutive appearance at the tournament.

Coach Moriyasu will have breathed a sigh of relief that his team sealed a place in Qatar at all following a rocky start to their qualification campaign, with Japan eventually finishing second in their group behind Saudi Arabia despite losing two of their opening three games.

Another tough challenge now awaits, as they are set to go up against 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia on Monday.

ALSO READ: World Cup 2022 Group E: Fixtures, results, standings, squads & full details

  • eiji-kawashima

    GOALKEEPERS

    Moriyasu had a good talent pool of goalkeepers to choose from, with the experienced custodian Eiji Kawashima emerging as one of the easy picks.

    Shuichi Gonda and Daniel Schmidt were the other two shot stoppers to get the nod.

    That means the likes of Kosei Tani, Keisuke Osako and Zion Susuki missed out in the end.

    Name

    Club

    Eiji Kawashima

    Strasbourg

    Shuichi Gonda

    Shimizu S-Pulse

    Daniel Schmidt

    Sint-Truiden

  • takehiro-tomiyasu

    DEFENDERS

    Maya Yoshida has used all his experience so far to help guide his nation to the last 16. He is a key player alongside Ko Itakura at centre-back.

    Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu has been used fairly sparingly from the bench thus far as he recovers from a hamstring issue.

    Name

    Club

    Miki Yamane

    Kawasaki Frontale

    Shogo Taniguchi

    Kawasaki Frontale

    Yuto Nagatomo

    FC Tokyo

    Takehiro Tomiyasu

    Arsenal

    Hiroki Sakai

    Urawa Red Diamonds

    Ko Itakura

    Borussia Monchengladbach

    Maya Yoshida

    Schalke

    Hiroki Ito

    Stuttgart

    Yuta Nakayama

    Huddersfield Town

  • Taki-Minamino

    MIDFIELDERS

    Bundesliga pair Wataru Endo and Daichi Kamada are key in this area, with the former anchoring the midfield and the latter providing a creative spark.

    Another Germany-based player, Ao Tanaka, has also proved to be a key player out in Qatar. Meanwhile, Ritsu Doan has chipped in with two vital goals.

    Name

    Club

    Wataru Endo

    Stuttgart

    Gaku Shibasaki

    Leganes

    Takumi Minamino

    Monaco

    Hidemasa Morita

    Sporting CP

    Daichi Kamada

    Eintracht Frankfurt

    Ao Tanaka

    Fortuna Dusseldorf

    Ritsu Doan

    Freiburg

    Yuki Soma

    Nagoya Grampus

  • Take-Kubo

    ATTACKERS

    Takuma Asano has been a key forward player for Japan so far, with Junya Ito playing an important supporting role.

    Brighton's Koaru Mitoma has also impressed in cameos, getting the crucial, if controversial, winning assist against Spain.

    Name

    Club

    Daizen Maeda

    Celtic

    Takefusa Kubo

    Real Sociedad

    Ayase Ueda

    Cercle Brugge

    Takuma Asano

    VfL Bochum

    Junya Ito

    Reims

    Kaoru Mitoma

    Brighton

  •  2022-12-01-japan-ritsu-doan

    JAPAN STAR PLAYERS

    Ritsu Doan has achieved superhero status in the land of the rising sun after scoring against both Germany and Spain. He came on as a substitute on both occasions and changed the complexion of the matches with early goals that rocked their opponents.

    Ao Tanaka has been hitting the right chords in midfield and his late runs into the box have been a handy weapon for his side.

    At the back, Maya Yoshida has been marshalling the defence staunchly. He put in a fantastic shift against Spain where he used all his experience to keep La Roja at bay.

  • SAMURAI BLUE PROBABLE STARTING XI VS CROATIA

    Gonda looks set to guard the goal in behind a defensive line of Itakura, Yoshida, and Taniguchi.

    Morita seems a certainty in midfield, with Tanaka likely to partner the Stuttgart star.

    Ito and Nagatomo can be used at the flanks while the front three should comprise Kubo, Maeda and Kamada.

    Japan XI (3-4-3): Gonda; Itakura, Yoshida, Taniguchi; Ito, Tanaka, Morita, Nagatomo; Kubo, Maeda, Kamada.