Coach Hajime Moriyasu emphasized the need for Japan to be adaptable and handle any situation during the upcoming Asian Cup in Qatar, starting on January 12. Japan, with eight consecutive victories, including notable triumphs against Germany and Turkey, is seen as a leading contender for the tournament.
In preparation for the Asian Cup, Hajime Moriyasu announced a 23-man squad for a warm-up friendly against Thailand in Tokyo on New Year’s Day. The squad included fifteen players based overseas, with the exception of Premier League stars such as Wataru Endo from Liverpool and Kaoru Mitoma from Brighton..
Underlining the significance of mental readiness, the coach expressed the goal of achieving perfection from the first game while also acknowledging the need to adapt and handle challenges, including injuries, throughout each match. Moriyasu stressed the significance of having the right mentality to face tough challenges.
For the Thailand game, Moriyasu did not call up players based in Britain, Italy, or Spain but included individuals from French, German, Belgian, and Dutch clubs. Notable inclusions were Monaco playmaker Takumi Minamino, Borussia Monchengladbach defender Kou Itakura, and Feyenoord striker Ayase Ueda. Additionally, Sint-Truidense attacker Ryotaro Ito and FC Tokyo goalkeeper Taishi Brandon Nozawa received their first call-ups.
Moriyasu expressed the importance of the Thailand friendly, viewing it as “a precious chance to build towards the Asian Cup and the World Cup qualifiers beyond that.” Japan’s Asian Cup group includes Indonesia, Iraq, and Vietnam.