Japan vs Paraguay – LIVE Reddit Soccer 02/06/2022
The visitors head into their first friendly since 2019 on the back of an unsuccessful World Cup Qualifying campaign, while their hosts have booked their place in this year’s tournament and will look to build further momentum. Japan head into a pair of International Friendlies in June on the back of an impressive Asian World Cup Qualifying campaign, booking their spot in the global competition in Qatar. Following a slow start, in which they suffered defeats to Oman and Saudi Arabia either side of a win over Australia, the Samurai Blue went on to post six straight victories to confirm a top-two finish ahead of Australia.
They rounded off the campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Vietnam at the end of March, as Maya Yoshida saved their blushes somewhat with a second-half equaliser, before seeing themselves drawn in a tough group with Germany and Spain alongside the winner of the playoff between Costa Rica and New Zealand. Ahead of that competition, Hajime Moriyasu’s men will aim to build momentum in their friendlies against Paraguay and Brazil and a meeting with Ghana.
They welcome a Paraguay team looking to bounce back to form over the summer following a tough run in South America in recent years. La Albirroja’s last friendlies came late in 2019, and they have since gone through World Cup Qualifying and Copa America campaigns, firstly beginning with seven points from their opening six games in the former before heading into the continental competition last summer. They qualified through the group stage in third place but were quickly dumped out in the opening knockout round at the hands of Peru, as they lost on a penalty shootout after equalising in the dying embers to make it 3-3 in regular time.
Former boss Eduardo Berizzo was dismissed in the following months, and, under the new management of Guillermo Barros Schelotto, they were unable to finish the qualifying campaign on a high, winning just one and losing six of their last nine games to drop to eighth spot and fall well out of contention for the Qatar tournament.
Without having the World Cup looming, Paraguay will simply look to rebuild their confidence with an upturn in form in this round of fixtures.
Japan have called up a strong squad for this round of games, with Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu fit to be included after his struggles with injuries towards the end of the Premier League season.
He could partner captain Maya Yoshida at the heart of a back four, while Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino is a star man going forward, having hit 17 goals in 39 international caps.
The likes of Ritsu Doan and Junya Ito will also be vying for places in the attacking setup, while striker Kyogo Furuhashi’s cause may have been harmed by missing large portions of Celtic’s title-winning season after starting with eight goals in his first 13 Scottish Premiership appearances, and Bhoys teammate Reo Hatate is absent from the squad.
Newcastle United winger Miguel Almiron is set to return to the Paraguay starting XI for Thursday’s contest after missing the last round of World Cup Qualifiers.
Angel Romero may lead the line from the outset while brother Oscar Romero is another fixture in their attack, likely lining up on the opposite flank to Almiron.
Captain Gustavo Gomez should displace Omar Alderete and play at the heart of a back four alongside Fabian Balbuena, with Richard Ortiz and Andres Cubas vying to anchor the midfield.
Japan will take on Paraguay in an international friendly at the Sapporo Dome stadium on Thursday. The Samurai Blue head into a pair of international friendlies after an impressive Asian World Cup Qualifying campaign, making it to the finals in Qatar. Meanwhile Paraguay head into the tie on the back of an unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign, finishing eighth in the 10-team points table, only the top four earn direct qualification for the World Cup, while the fifth-placed team go into play-offs. Japan would be aiming to build further momentum heading into the EAFF East Asian Cup final round match against South Korea later this month.
The Samurai Blue didn’t have a great start to their qualifying campaign, losing against Oman and Saudi Arabia either side of a win over China. However, Hajime Moriyasu’s side managed to turn their fortunes, winning six back-to-back games to secure second spot in the Group B, behind Saudi Arabia to book a ticket to Qatar 2022. They rounded off the campaign with a 1-1 draw at home to Vietnam at the end of March. Maya Yoshida canceled out Thanh Binh’s opener to earn a point at Saitama Stadium. After the Paraguay match, Japan will host Brazil in a friendly match on Monday before facing Ghana in the Kirin Cup semi-final, four days later.
On the other hand, Paraguay’s last friendly came late in 2019, and they have since gone through World Cup qualifying and Copa America campaigns. La Albirroja suffered a 2-0 loss to Peru in their last match courtesy of goals from Gianluca Lapadula and Yoshimar Yotun. The result helped Peru to overtake Colombia and secure the fifth spot, giving them a chance to make the World Cup via the play-off.
Moriyasu has called up a strong squad for the friendlies, with Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu fit to be included after his struggles with injuries towards the end of the Premier League season. He could play alongside Maya Yoshida in the back-four, while Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino will lead the attack. As for Paraguay, Newcastle United star Miguel Almiron is set to return to the starting eleven for Thursday’s contest after missing the last round of World Cup qualifiers. Angel Romero is likely to lead the attack with Oscar Romero deployed at the right-flank.