In football, Japan is one of the Asian powerhouses globally, appearing for six consecutive FIFA
World Cups (France 1998, Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014, and
Russia 2018). As the Qatar 2022 World Cup approaches, Japan has been showing its utmost
strength in the Asian qualifying stages—proving it is worth threatening other Asian contenders
like South Korea, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Recently, Japan thrashed Mongolia in a one-sided, 14-
0 victory. Indeed, the Japanese National Football Team, well-known as the "Samurai Blue" is
determined to crush anyone for their World Championship hopes. But how fierce is the Samurai
Blue getting?

Due to the pandemic, Samurai Blue's scheduled qualifying matches were moved to as late as
March 2021 from the original December 2020 itineraries. Despite the long rest, they managed to
throw Mongolia into a blowout win which serves as a warning shot for other teams that will face
them in the upcoming rounds. Without any doubt, Japan is setting the Asian Qualifiers to a
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The Samurai Blue is set to face the Myanmar National Team this coming Friday, 28 May 2021 (
19:00 UTC+9), with a whole new look. The Japanese Football Team's Head Coach, Hajime
Moriyasu, introduced their entirely European-based squad. The unavailability of the original
Japanese team has led to such a sudden change in the lineup for Friday's matchup against
Myanmar. The original starters are set to engage in friendlies against Jamaica and Ghana.
However, Head Coach Moriyasu does not see this as a hindrance to their ultimate goal to sweep
the Asian Qualifier games and seal their right to be international stage contenders.
"First of all, we want to win the game in front of us against Myanmar and book our place in the
next round"; said Moriyasu. The Japanese Football Team managed to win 100% of their Asian
Qualifier games so far with 27 goals in total with no concessions yet. So far, this year's Asian
Qualifiers is one of their best for the past decade.
"We want to use the games after that to strengthen and prepare to get through the final qualifying
round. But first of all, we want to get ready for the game in front of us as best we can."; Moriyasu
adds. With such unforgettable fevour in playing football, Japan holds the 26 th spot worldwide
and 2 nd in Asia—behind Iran and above superteams like South Korea, Australia, and Qatar.
In the former World Cup in Russia, Japan became the first Asian team to win against a South
American giant in the penalty shootout against Colombia (2-1). They were able to pass through
the Round of 16 until Romelu Lukkaku and the Belgian National Team halted their swift

advance in a blockbuster 2-1 game at St. Petersburg. Belgium will eventually advance to the
quarterfinals only to be eliminated by the English National Football Team led by Golden Boot
awardee Harry Kane.
Although Japan still has a long way ahead of its World Championship dreams, Japanese fans
should be excited to see their favourite team own the Group Stage at Doha this coming 2022
World Cup. Head Coach Moriyasu and his young players led by European league-calibre
veterans like Southampton Defender Maya Yoshida, Stuttgart's Wataru Endo, and Marseille's
Hiroki Sakai. Japan's perfect attendance for the past six World Cups sets a more competitive
spirit for its National Team, Coaches, and fans.
The eagerness and focus of the Japanese Football Team may still not yet ensure their claim for
the World Title. Still, it will warn non-Asian powerhouses about the emerging greatness
intertwined with Japan's advances on the world stage. Japan and the rest of the world cannot wait
for what may unfold in the Land of the Rising Sun's legendary journey in becoming one of the
greatest national football teams in FIFA's long and glorious history.