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Preview - Group H: Japan on a mission

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Moscow: Japan's target will be to emulate, if not better, their previous best of two appearances in the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

A well-balanced squad has given head coach Akira Nishino hope that the Blue Samurai will advance from Group H despite the challenge posed by Poland, Senegal and Colombia.



Nishino will be counting on the senior players to play a key role in Japan's sixth appearance at the FIFA World Cup.

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JAPAN



Honours: Asian Cup winners 1992, 2000, 2004, 2011. FIFA Confederations Cup runners-up 2001



FIFA World Cup history: Sixth participation



FIFA World Cup best: Last 16 (2002, 2010)



FIFA ranking: 61



Nickname: Blue Samurai



How they qualified: Won Asian Group B



 

All you need to know: Japan

 



Squad



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



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



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



Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City/ENG), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen/GER), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz/GER).



Head Coach: Akira Nishino (JPN).



POLAND

Honours: Olympic Gold 1972



FIFA World Cup history: Eighth participation



FIFA World Cup best: Third place in 1974 and 1982



FIFA ranking: 8



Nickname: Bialo-czerwoni (The White and Reds)



How they qualified: Finished top of Group E in European qualifying

Squad



Goalkeepers: Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich Town/ENG), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea/ENG), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus/ITA).



Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton/ENG), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria/ITA), Thiago Cionek (SPAL/ITA), Kamil Glik (Monaco/FRA), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw).



Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (Wolfsburg/GER), Jacek Goralski (Ludogorets Razgrad/BUL), Kamil Grosicki (Hull/ENG), Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion/ENG), Rafal Kurzawa (Gornik Zabrze), Karol Linetty (Sampdoria/ITA), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli/ITA).



Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Sampdoria/ITA), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/GER), Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli/ITA), Lukasz Teodorczyk (RSC Anderlecht/BEL).



Head Coach: Adam Nawałka (POL)




SENEGAL

Honours: None



FIFA World Cup history: Reached 2002 quarter-finals in only previous appearance



FIFA ranking: 27



Nickname: Teranga Lions



How they qualified: Won Africa Group D

Squad



Goalkeepers: Abdoulaye Diallo (Rennes/FRA), Alfred Gomis (SPAL/ITA), Khadim Ndiaye (Horoya/GUI).



Defenders: Saliou Ciss (Valenciennes/FRA), Lamine Gassama (Antalyaspor/TUR), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli/ITA), Kara Mbodj (Anderlecht/BEL), Youssouf Sabaly (Bordeaux/FRA), Salif Sane (Hanover/GER), Moussa Wague (Eupen/BEL).



Midfielders: Idrissa Gueye (Everton/ENG), Cheikhou Kouyate (West Ham Utd/ENG, capt), Pape Alioune Ndiaye (Stoke City/ENG), Alfred Ndiaye (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG), Cheikh Ndoye (Birmingham City/ENG), Ismaila Sarr (Rennes/FRA).



Forwards: Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke/ENG), Balde Keita (Monaco/FRA), Moussa Konate (Amiens/FRA), Sadio Mane (Liverpool/ENG), Mbaye Niang (Torino/ITA), Diafra Sakho (Rennes/FRA), Moussa Sow (Bursaspor/TUR).



Head Coach: Aliou Cisse (SEN).



COLOMBIA

Honours: Copa America winners 2001



FIFA World cup history: Sixth participation.



FIFA World Cup best: Quarter-finalists in 2014



FIFA ranking: 16



Nickname: Los Cafeteros (The Coffee Growers)



How they qualified: Finished fourth in CONMEBOL qualifying competition.

Squad



Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Arsenal/ENG), Camilo Vargas (Deportivo Cali), Jose Fernando Cuadrado (Once Caldas/ARG).



Defenders: Cristian Zapata (Milan/ITA), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham/ENG), Santiago Arias (PSV/NED), Oscar Murillo (Pachuca), Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors/ARG), Johan Mojica (Girona/ESP), Yerry Mina (Barcelona/ESP).



Midfielders: Wilmar Barrios (Boca Juniors/ARG), Carlos Sanchez (Espanyol/ESP), Jefferson Lerma (Levante/ESP), Jose Izquierdo (Brighton/ENG), James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich/GER), Abel Aguilar (Deportivo Cali), Mateus Uribe (America/MEX), Juan Fernando Quintero (River Plate/ARG), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Juventus/ITA).



Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco/FRA), Miguel Borja (Palmeiras/BRA), Carlos Bacca (Villarreal/ESP), Luis Muriel (Sevilla/ESP).



Head Coach: Jose Pekerman (ARG)




Fixtures (Local Time)



June 19



Colombia vs Japan (15:00)



Poland vs Senegal (18:00)



 



June 24



Japan vs Senegal (20:00)



Poland vs Colombia (21:00)



 



June 28



Japan vs Poland (17:00)



Senegal vs Colombia (18:00)

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