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HALILHODZIC: We will end year with two wins – 23-man squad announced for World Cup Qualifiers Round 2

06 November 2015

HALILHODZIC: We will end year with two wins – 23-man squad announced for World Cup Qualifiers Round 2

SAMURAI BLUE Coach Vahid HALILHODZIC announced his 23-man squad on 5 November for their fifth fixture of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2 against Singapore (on 12th in Singapore) and the sixth fixture against Cambodia (on 17th in Phnom Penh). The Japan coach named forward KANAZAKI Mu (Kashima Antlers) and HAYASHI Akihiro (Sagan Tosu) for the first time under his reign. "We will end (the year) with two wins," said Halilhodzic.

While regular faces such as midfielder KAGAWA Shinji (Borussia Dortmund) and forward HONDA Keisuke (AC Milan) were called up, six players were replaced from the roster for the fourth qualifying match against Syria on 8 October.

Kanazaki was called up for the first time in five years and Hayashi joins his first national team activity since September of last year. U-22 National Team captain midfielder ENDO Wataru (Shonan Bellmare), defenders SAKAI Hiroki (Hannover 96) and MARUYAMA Yuichi (F.C. Tokyo) came back to the team for the first time since September this year. Defender FUJIHARU Hiroki (Gamba Osaka) was named after a while since he was called for the EAFF East Asian Cup 2015 in August.

Meanwhile forward MINAMINO Takumi (Salzburg) and midfielder KASHIWAGI Yosuke (Urawa Reds) were selected again, after their first call-up in the last camp.

"I want to call up as many players as I can during my first year and know not only their ability in football but also their personality," explained Halilhodzic why he replaced several players. "Kanazaki can keep the ball away from the opponents and has great heading ability. He can come through in critical opportunities." The coach added on Hayashi, "I’ve been following Hayashi for long. He’s shown good performances these days."

The Asian Qualifiers Round 2, which began in June this year, is competed in groups of five teams. A top team in each group and top four teams among second-placed teams can advance to the final round.

Having played one match fewer than other four teams in Group E, Japan have earned 10 points with three wins and one tie, which is two points behind leaders Syria (four wins and one loss). Singapore stand in third with three wins, one loss and one tie, followed by Afghanistan (one win and four losses) and Cambodia (five losses).

Japan drew with Singapore 0-0 on the last matchup in the first match of the second qualifiers at home in June this year and grabbed a 3-0 win against Cambodia in September at home.

Halilhodzic said, "the Singapore match is an opportunity to get back at ourselves. I want my players to brace themselves." Speaking of the Cambodia match to be held on an artificial turf field, "it’s all about skills. We need to adjust."

The team will start their training next Monday in Singapore for the next match against Singapore.

The matches against Singapore and Cambodia will kick off at 7:15 p.m. (8:15 p.m. Japan Time) on 12th and 7:14 p.m. (9:14 p.m. Japan Time) respectively.

Comments

Vahid HALILHODZIC, Coach of SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
We will play the last two matches of this year on the road, but I want to end with two wins. The makeup of this team is a little different with several new players on the squad. I want to call up as many players as I can during my first year (at the head coaching job) and know not only their ability in football but also their personality by having conversations with them, I expect a high level of things from my players. I give opportunities to different players (from the past), and it’s also my message to them to aim higher. 

I do the same to the players playing outside of Japan. If they perform well, I will bring them to the team, but I will decide whom I call up according to situations, and I want to see how certain combinations work. In the Singapore match last time, we had as many as 20 big chances, but couldn’t convert them. This time we want to covert chances to goals. This is an opportunity to get back at ourselves. I want my players to stay motivated and composed. We will put up good result to protect the top spot in the group. 

SHIMODA Masahiro, JFA National Technical Director
Finally we have only two more matches in this year. We will stick to our goal, which is to win matches, get 6 more points and come back to Japan. Now we keep playing away matches, but I want supporters in Japan to keep supporting the team. I would like to thank them in advance. 

JFA-TV (Japanese version only)

 

Schedule

Sun. 8 November AM Training
Mon. 9 November PM Training
Tue. 10 November PM Training
Wed. 11 November PM Official Conference
Official Training (National Stadium)
Thu. 12 November 19:15
(Local Time)
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Singapore National Team (National Stadium)
More information
Fri. 13 November AM Training
Sat. 14 November PM Training
Sun. 15 November PM Training
Mon. 16 November PM Official Conference
Official Training
Tue. 17 November 19:14
(Local Time)
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification
vs Cambodia National Team (National Olympic Stadium)
More information

2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers Round 2 AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Preliminary Joint Qualification

11-12 (Thu.) - kick off at 20:15<Japan Time> (subject to change) 
Singapore/National Stadium
Singapore National Team vs SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
More information

11-17 (Tue.) kick off at 21:14<Japan Time> (subject to change) 
Cambodia/National Olympic Stadium
Cambodia National Team vs SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team)
More information

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