By Armstrong Vas
Doha (Qatar), Nov 9 (SocialNews.XYZ) Members of the Samurai Blue have started arriving in Qatar for the FIFA World Cup with a small group of players and officials checking into the official hotel on Monday while another group is set to arrive on Wednesday, according to information provided by people who are in the know of things.
The first batch of players, mostly from the J-league, and officials were officially welcomed by Japanese ambassador to Qatar Satoshi Maeda at a function held at Radisson Blu Hotel Doha which will serve as Samurai Blue residence for the next few weeks.
The 26-man Japanese squad announced by Manager Hajime Moriyasu 's side comprises playmakers Daichi Kamada, who plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in the German league, and Real Sociedad's Takefusa Kubo.
The notable names who missed the Qatar bus included Celtic forward Kyogo Furuhashi and midfielder Reo Hatate, Vissel Kobe forward Yuya Osako and Union Berlin midfielder Genki Haraguchi.
"Players from the J League will arrive in Qatar around 10 November to begin their training. Since the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is taking place during the middle of the European league season, players belonging to European clubs will join the team when their clubs' matches are over," Japanese Football Association has mentioned on their website.
With most of the players busy with European duty some of the players plying their trade in Europe will join the team next week taking all the factors into account, Japan have fixed its final international friendly match, before the World Cup, against another World Cup side Canada on November 17 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
Japan are placed in Group E alongside Spain, Costa Rica and Germany and will open their group campaign with a match against Germany on Wednesday 23 November. They will then face Costa Rica on Sunday 27 November and Spain on Thursday 1 December. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the knockout stage.
Canada, playing in the World Cup Finals after 36-year drought, having last qualified in 1986, will open their group campaign with a match against Belgium on November 23, followed by Croatia on November 27 and will conclude their group league engagements with a match against Morocco on December 1.
Japan has the best record for an Asian country at the World Cup having reached the knockout stage of the tournament three times, the most by any Asian nation and Moriyasu 's side is aiming to reach the quarterfinals for the first time in their seventh appearance at the FIFA World Cup finals.
In the 2018 World Cup, Japan became the first ever Asian nation to beat a side from South America, after they won 2-1 against Colombia in the group stage. The team made it to the pre quarter finals knockout round but lost to Belgium, 3-2.
Japan's World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg), Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Daniel Schmidt (Sint-Truiden)
Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Schalke), Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Reds), Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale), Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale), Ko Itakura (Borussia Monchengladbach), Machino Shuto (Shonan Bellmare), Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal)
Midfielders/Forwards: Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes), Wataru Endo (Stuttgart), Junya Ito (Reims), Takumi Minamino (Monaco), Hidemasa Morita (Sporting Lisbon), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Yuki Soma (Nagoya Grampus), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad)
Forwards: Ayase Ueda (Cercle Brugge), Takuma Asano (Bochum), Daizen Maeda (Celtic)
Head Coach: Moriyasu Hajime
Assistant Coach: Yokouchi Akinobu
Assistant Coach: Saito Toshihide
Assistant Coach: Ueno Yusaku
Physical Coach: Matsumoto Ryoichi
GK Coach: Shimoda Takashi
Technical Staff: Nakashita Masaki
Technical Staff: Sakai Kiyotaka
Technical Staff: Sato Takahiro