On November 8th (Wednesday), SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) coach Hajime Moriyasu announced that he will be hosting the Myanmar national team (Osaka on the 16th) and the Syrian national team (in Osaka on the 16th) in the FIFA World Cup 26 Asia 2nd round qualifying round and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 qualifying round that starts this month. On the 21st, the members of the Japanese national team who will play against Saudi Arabia) have been announced. Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton & Hove Albion FC) and Daichi Kamata (SS Lazio), who were absent for October activities, have returned.
There are 23 players registered for the match, but this time the number was reduced to 26 to take precautions against injuries and poor health. The members are mainly those who participated in the activities up until October, and players such as Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal), and Junya Ito (Stade Reims) were selected in order. Also, Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco) and defender Yuta Nakayama (Huddersfield Town FC), who returned after a long hiatus last month, are still on the roster.
Also included is Mitoma, who was postponed due to poor physical condition after being selected last time, Kamata and Ritsu Doan (SC Freiburg), who were not selected due to poor condition, and goalkeeper who was forced to withdraw due to injury midway through activities. Mayuya Maekawa (Vissel Kobe) is back. Additionally, Yuki Soma (Casa Pier AC) will be playing for the national team for the first time since June of this year.
Regarding this selection, Coach Moriyasu explained that he maintained the same stance as before, “Selecting the best at that time.” Furthermore, regarding the path from the second qualifying round to the main tournament, he said, “By moving forward while sharing the same experience, the team’s unity will be strengthened. By continuing to fight tough battles, we will be able to grow.” He looks forward to the main tournament in 2026. He said he wants to use his skills to improve the team.
In the second qualifying round, Japan will be placed in Group B, and in the FIFA rankings, Myanmar, who will be competing this time, is ranked 158th and Syria is ranked 92nd. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which they will play against in March, is ranked 115th, and Japan is ranked 18th. Each team will play against each other home and away, and the top two teams in their group will advance to the final round.
Although they will be playing against teams with a wide gap in the rankings, Coach Moriyasu once again mentioned the toughness of the qualifying rounds, saying, “The second qualifying round is not that easy.” Citing as an example the 2-0 away match against Myanmar in the second qualifying round of the last Qatar tournament, he said, “Even though the ground is bad, we are playing a difficult battle to score points and win.It is not easy.” I look back and point out.
“This is an opponent that I wouldn’t be surprised to face in the final qualifying round. We have to fight hard, stay alert, and have no gaps,” he said, keeping his guard up.
Regarding the kick-off time of the second match against Syria being moved up from the originally announced 20:00 local time to 17:45 local time, Coach Moriyasu said, “We need to win well in reality. We have even shared this with the team.”
The team will begin training in Osaka on Monday, November 13th. The first match against the Myanmar national team is scheduled to kick off at 19:00 on the 16th (Thursday) at Panasonic Stadium Suita. Due to the domestic situation in Syria, the second match against Syria will be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a kick-off scheduled for 17:45 local time (23:45 Japan time).
Hajime Moriyasu SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) Manager
I am feeling very nervous as the tough competition begins in the second round of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup. We want to fight for victory one match at a time, and work together as a team to improve our level as much as possible. In order to secure six points from these two games, all of the players and staff will do what they can do individually and as a team through daily practice, and prepare to the best of their ability.With the result and content of victory, we will be able to lead to the next step. I would like to make it so that it can be grasped.
The second qualifying round is not so easy. At the last tournament in Qatar, we had a big win against Myanmar at home, but we only scored two points away. It was also a very difficult match where we were not able to get into the game right away and take control, and we had to win by scoring points in extremely poor ground conditions, and we won by a narrow margin. It won’t be easy, and on top of that, this second qualifying round is an opponent I wouldn’t be surprised to face in the final qualifying round. I think we must never forget to be prepared to fight steadily and without any gaps.
As the team moves forward with a goal from the second round to the final round to the main tournament, it is thought that by moving forward while sharing the same experience as a team building team, the team will become more united. Masu. I would like to build a team by trying out different players, and this is the best way to share team tactics with players other than the 26 players who have the ability to join the team and win as a member of Japan’s national team in any situation. Since we have even achieved this, I would like to think about it (about player selection). We are considering sharing experiences by competing as a team, and building on the team while sharing achievements and challenges.
Masakuni Yamamoto JFA National Team Director
The battle to reach the top of the world’s mountains is about to begin. It is a journey to challenge our long and lofty goals. I would like to take on the challenge of being a hope for the future with my supporters. We hope to take on this historic challenge and grow together with our supporters. This will no longer be a friendly match. The entire Football Association, including the support of our supporters, will continue to play tough games one by one, but we are ready to fight as one.
JFA NATIONAL TEAM PARTNER