[WC Qualifiers Preview] Japan vs. Iraq

Projected Lineup:

prediction

GK: Shusaku Nishikawa
LB: Gotoku Sakai
CB: Masato Morishige
CB: Tomoaki Makino
RB: Hiroki Sakai
CM: Makoto Hasebe
CM: Hotaru Yamaguchi
LW: Genki Haraguchi
CAM: Hiroshi Kiyotake
RW: Keisuke Honda
FW: Shinji Okazaki

At LB, even though Yuto Nagatomo is in the squad, Gotoku Sakai has been very, very impressive with the national team and he has also been playing full matches at club level.

At CB, Makino comes in for Maya Yoshida. With both Masato Morishige and Maya Yoshida on a yellow card, playing both of them in tonight’s match is too risky, especially with an away match against Australia coming up next week Tuesday. The reason Yoshida is not in the starting line up is because Yoshida’s height and heading ability will be needed against Australia.

At CM, I think Manager Halilhodžić will give Hotaru Yamaguchi the green light alongside Makoto Hasebe because Yamaguchi gives the team overall balance and stability.

At LW, in-form Genki Haraguchi should get the nod because Takashi Usami pulled out with an injury and Manager Halilhodžić does not seem willing to play Shinji Kagawa out on the flank (see comments about CAM).

At CAM, there have been reports saying that Kiyotake has been receiving special instructions at the CAM position from Manager Halilhodžić. This leads me to the assumption that Kiyotake will get the nod over Shinji Kagawa.

At FW, even though Shinji Okazaki has not been playing consistently at the club level, but I think his work rate and nose for goal will create chances for Japan. If Okazaki proves to be ineffective, I see Manager Halilhodžić subbing on Takuma Asano early on in the 2nd half, if not from the start of the 2nd half.

My Team:

my-team

GK: Shusaku Nishikawa
LB: Gotoku Sakai
CB: Masato Morishige
CB: Tomoaki Makino
RB: Hiroki Sakai
CM: Makoto Hasebe
CM: Yosuke Kashiwagi
LW: Genki Haraguchi
CAM: Hiroshi Kiyotake
RW: Yu Kobayashi
FW: Shinji Okazaki

At CB, I would go with Makino for the reasons mentioned above in the projected lineup section.

At CM, instead of Yamaguchi, I would start Yosuke Kashiwagi because Japan needs to have more quality possession in midfield before the team hits the switch and goes to goal. Kashiwagi is very positive in making runs into the box, which is something Hasebe and Yamaguchi both don’t do. Another reason why I would go with Kashiwagi is because he has great chemistry with club teammate CB Makino.

At RW, I like Yu Kobayashi at this position because he has been in great form with his club Kawasaki Frontale. Also, Kobayashi has made 19 appearances in the RW position for his club, and Japan currently does not have a player who can naturally play RW. Kobayashi likes to cut inside and combine with players in the center of the pitch, so he would be another goal scoring threat.

Overall, the squad I choose has players playing their NATURAL positions; unlike Manager Halilhodžić, he plays Keisuke Honda as a RW when Honda is naturally a CAM even though he played out on the flank during his rookie years with Nagoya Grampus.

Ideal Team:

(Including players not currently with the squad)

ideal

GK: Shusaku Nishikawa
LB: Gotoku Sakai
CB: Masato Morishige
CB: Wataru Endo
RB: Hiroki Sakai
CM: Makoto Hasebe
CM: Gaku Shibasaki
LW: Takashi Usami
CAM: Hiroshi Kiyotake
RW: Genki Haraguchi
FW: Yuya Osako

At CB, alongside Morishige, I would go with Wataru Endo over Maya Yoshida. Endo has been an integral part of his club team Urawa Reds at the CB position. He is a ball-playing defender who is similar to Morishige, but I feel Morishige and Endo would be a great combination in the center of defense, despite the fact that the are both don’t have height like Yoshida.

At CM, Gaku Shibasaki should be starting. A box-to-box midfielder/roaming playmaker who can score goals. Shibasaki has a very high soccer IQ and this is evident in his position and movement on the pitch. The current Japanese National Team is very static in the midfield, and this has a negative influence on Manager Halilhodžić’s tactic, which is to attack the goal directly and quickly.

At LW, Usami should be in this position because he has high work rate and can create/score goals. Not many people will agree with me on this decision, but I feel Usami’s presence in the first team will bring positive results for the JNT in the long run.

At RW, Haraguchi. With his dribbling ability, he can play on both flanks and cause problems for opponents. Not only this, but he has a great shot after beating players on the dribble. In this respect, he is similar to Usami; so, it is good to have two similar players because you can play them on opposite flanks and get the most out of their abilities.

FW: I would recall Yuya Osako and slot him in at the starting FW position. He is a complete forward, which means he is a split of a target man and advanced forward. Depsite not having much height, Osako is adept at winning headers. Osako also can hold up the ball with his back towards goal, which can bring others into the game. If Osako is facing goal, he will look to spearhead attacks. These are all things that the JNT absolutely needs.

Advertisements

Drop a Line!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s