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Japan name squad for Poland 2019

Tokyo: Japan have named their squad for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup which is set to start in Poland later this month.

The East Asians lost to eventual winners Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals of last year’s AFC U-19 Championship, and some 13 members of that squad have been retained for the global extravaganza which will see Japan take on Mexico, Italy and Ecuador, who they open their Group B campaign against on May 23.

Rising star Jun Nishikawa – named Most Valuable Player when Japan claimed the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship title – has also been included by head coach Masanaga Kageyama.

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Tokyo FC’s Takefusa Kubo, Kashima Antlers forward Hiroki Abe and Sanfrecce Hiroshima goalkeeper Keisuke Osako are, however, notable absentees, with the trio now expected to feature for Japan’s senior team at the upcoming Copa America.

Japan have featured in nine previous FIFA U-20 World Cups since making their tournament debut in 1979. Their best performance to date came in 1999 when they made it through to the final only to be beaten by Spain.

Saudi Arabia, Korea Republic and Qatar complete the quartet of teams flying the flag for Asia in Poland.

Japan squad for FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019

Goalkeepers: Shu Mogi (Cerezo Osaka), Tomoya Wakahara (Kyoto Sanga), Zion Suzuki (Urawa Red Diamonds)

Defenders: Toichi Suzuki (Shonan Bellmare), Ayumu Seko (Cerezo Osaka), Kennedy Mikuni (Avispa Fukuoka), Yukinari Sugawara (Nagoya Grampus), Hinata Kida (Avispa Fukouka), Yuki Kobayashi (Vissel Kobe), Shunki Higashi (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)

Midfielders: Mitsuki Saito (Shonan Bellmare), Hiroki Ito (Nagoya Grampus), Yuta Goke (Vissel Kobe), Kanya Fujimoto (Tokyo Verdy), Kota Yamada (Yokohama F. Marinos), Yuta Taki (Shimizu S-Pulse), Koki Saito (Yokohama FC)

Forwards: Kyosuke Tagawa (FC Tokyo), Taisei Miyashiro (Kawasaki Frontale), Keito Nakamura (Gamba Osaka), Jun Nishikawa (Tokogakuen High School)

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