World Cup 2018: Japan team profile

Makino Tomoaki models the new Japan World Cup 2018 away shirt (credit: adidasUK)
Image: Makino Tomoaki models the new Japan World Cup 2018 away shirt (credit: adidasUK)

From fixtures and fun facts to the key men, all you need to know about Japan ahead of this summer's World Cup.

Manager: Vahid Halilhodzic

Star man: Keisuke Honda - The Pachuca forward is nearing the 100-cap mark for Japan, and averages more than one goal every three games for his country.

How they qualified: Group B winners in Asian qualifying, finishing on 20 points from 10 games, just one point ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia.

History: Have featured at every World Cup since first reaching the finals in 1998. Made the last 16 in both 2002 and 2010.

Fun fact: Leicester striker Shinji Okazaki has scored one goal in each of the last two World Cups (v Denmark in 2010, v Colombia in 2014).

Best World Cup moment: After a point-less showing in the 1998 groups, Japan co-hosted the 2002 tournament alongside South Korea, securing a point against Belgium before beating Russia and Tunisia to top Group H. A bleach-blonde Junichi Inamoto firing Japan ahead against Belgium sparked wild celebrations.

Also See:

Player you've never heard of: Makoto Hasebe - The Japanese captain, who plays defensive midfield for Eintracht Frankfurt, has more than 100 international caps, and will be looking to feature in his third World Cup.

Kit: Home - blue; Away - white and grey.

Group H fixtures: Colombia (1pm, June 19, Saransk), Senegal (4pm, June 24, Ekaterinburg), Poland (3pm, June 28, Volgograd)

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