2018 FIFA World Cup: Japan squad guide, full fixtures, group and key players

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Japan National team

Japan's preparations for the World Cup have been disrupted with the sacking of former coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Japan, who will be playing in their sixth successive World Cup, have twice reached the last 16 — in 2010 and as co-hosts in 2002.

Preparations for the World Cup have been disrupted with the sacking of former coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Captain: Makoto Hasebe

Manager: Akira Nishino

Nickname: Samurai Blue

FIFA World Cup record: 6 appearances

Fixtures

Japan Vs  Colombia

Japan Vs Senegal

Japan Vs Poland

Key Men

1. Shinji Kagawa

If fully fit, will be Japan’s star man for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. From the middle, the Borussia Dortmund man dictate and set Japan up going forward to hurt the opposition.

2. Keisuke Honda

Although his influence on the pitch has waned in recent years, Honda remains the biggest star in Japanese football.

He still has the quality on the pitch and his influence in the dressing room will also be needed.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol)

Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers)

Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale)

Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz)

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