FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017: Japan announce 21-man squad for World Cup campaign
What’s the story?
Japan, two times quarter-finalists at the FIFA U-17 World Cup and semi-finalist of the recent U-16 AFC Championship, have announced their squad for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in India starting from the 6th of October where they are placed in Group E with France, Honduras and New Caledonia.
The Samurai Blues were one of the semi-finalists at the AFC U-16 Championship in 2016, thus qualifying for the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Japan went on to lose to Iraq in the semi-finals of the AFC Championship. Japan reached the quarter-finals of the U-17 World Cup two times before but failed to qualify for the last edition of the tournament in 2015 in Chile. In AFC Championship, they have been champions twice. Their qualification to the World Cup was inspired by the performances of the likes of Takefusa Kubo and Tanahashi Akito.
The heart of the matter
Here is the Japan squad for the upcoming tournament :
Goalkeepers: Umeda Togo, Tani Kosei, Suzuki Zion
Defenders: Iketaka Nobuki, Kemmotsu Takumu, Sugawara Yukinari, Kobayashi Yuki, Yamasaki Taichi, Baba Seiya.
Midfielders: Okuno Kohei, Hirakawa Rei, Suzuki Toichi, Tsubaki Naoki, Fukouka Shimpei, Kida Hinata, Kozuki Soichiro.
Forwards: Yamada Hiroto, Miyashiro Taisei, Nakamura Keito, Kubo Takefusa, Saito Koki.
Japan had a strong qualification tournament before losing to eventual champions Iraq. They have a very good line-up with players like Nakamura Keito, Kubo, Yamada Hiroto, Fukouka Shimpei but will miss Akito Tanahashi who was their joined top scorer in AFC Championship.
Head coach Yoshiro Moriyama will put his faith in these players again as they hope to progress through to next round of the U-17 World Cup.
Japan, who are in Group E, will play all their group matches in Guwahati. With the likes of France and Honduras in the group, it won't be easy for the Samurai Blues to progress to the next round. But if their star players perform to their potential, Japan could well go past the quarter-finals again in this edition of the World Cup.