In the latest Japan news, defender Maya Yoshida admits the Samurai Blue are out to impress at this summer’s World Cup.
Japan have qualified for their sixth successive World Cup finals and they will head to Russia hoping to perform better than they did in Brazil four years ago. They finished bottom of their group in 2014 and only managed to pick up one point from their three games.
Southampton centre-back Yoshida was part of that squad in Brazil and he is hoping his side can produce a much better showing this time around.
“We had so many regrets from Brazil. Still I have some painful feelings in my head and in my heart. The only thing, winning or new success at international level can help,” the 29-year-old was quoted as saying by the Daily Echo.
“There is only one solution to help the pain get better from Brazil, by winning in Russia.”
Japan have been drawn in Group H for the finals where they will take on Colombia, who beat them in Brazil four years ago, Senegal and Poland, and they are priced at 13/2 with Dafabet to finish top of their group.
Yoshida believes Colombia may well be the slight favourites to emerge as group winners but ultimately feels there is little to separate the four teams.
“Our group is really competitive. There’s no superstars like Brazil, Germany or Spain, but Colombia are a little more exciting and have more of a reputation than the other three,” Yoshida added.
“Still, it’s a really competitive group and every country has the chance to go through.”
Japan have twice before made it through to the knockout stages of the World Cup, most recently in 2010, but they will head into this year’s tournament with a new coach at the helm in the form of Akira Nishino, but are yet to win a match in 2018.