Finishing ahead of Australia and Saudi Arabia in Group B qualifiers, Japan is a force to be reckoned with. Ranked at number 60, Japan lack the star power of many of their competitors, but do have a reliable and passionate team that have the ability to upset. Their best result in previous Cups is 9th place, which they will be aiming to improve on
As far as WC coaches go, Nishino is possibly the least experienced of the lot. For Cup experience, he brings with him his participation in 4 Cup qualifiers. That is not to say he doesn’t have experience in other football tournaments. Nishino is a veteran in the industry, coaching the Japanese Olympic team in 1996 and guiding Gamba Osake to the semi-finals of the Club WC in 2008. The wizened coach has plenty to bring to the table and a team that is on the cusp of greatness.
Japan first started their Football WC campaign in 1970, however it would be many years until they actually qualified. Almost 30 years later in 1998, they finally qualified for the 16th edition held in France. Their debut was not particularly impressive as they failed to get out of the group stages. Four years later, they were back and this time, they made it through to the round of 16 and placed 9th. They have since qualified for every Cup and repeated their 9th place in South Africa. At the last Cup in Brazil, they bombed out again at the group stages.
Designed by Adidas, Japan’s home kit is a complete original and modelled on traditional samurai armour. Set against a dark blue base, the shirt has striped of light and dark blue with 3 white stripes on the shoulders. This is completed with dark blue shorts and socks. The away kit features a predominantly light grey shirt with a white trim collar and 3 white stripes on the shoulders. The Adidas badge and insignia stand out in bold red.