Japan’s national football team – more popularly known as the Samurai Blues – have grown to become an Asian powerhouse in football, that much is true and logical to say the least. This is evidenced in the Blues clinching their spot to the quadrennial FIFA World Cup 2014 the earliest among all teams. The Japanese team has a number of its stars playing their club football in Europe, giving them a distinct advantage over their Asian rivals. But when face to face with true blue international powerhouses, what are Japan’s realistic chances of advancing from their group?
Japan’s World Cup group C, upon casual inspection, would be one of the “easier” groups in terms of quality and indeed form. But as they say, there really are no easy games in the World Cup. Colombia is one of the dark horses for the World Cup trophy this year, but with its top marksman Radamel Falcao out injured, their chances suddenly became slimmer and they do look beatable. Greece is known for its solid defense, but they have often lacked the offensive punch to be considered as a contender. The Ivory Coast is one of Africa’s stronger side, having great individual players, including Manchester City’s midfield mountain Yaya Toure – arguably one of the World’s premier midfielders. Looking to form though, the African side has really not done well enough in the World Cup to be considered contenders.
Japan’s side boasts of speedy and skilled players, topping that would be inspirational attacking midfielder Keisuke Honda. He will be ably backed by Manchester United’s creative midfielder Shinji Kagawa, and Inter’s dynamic fullback Yuto Nagatomo. But the question remains – can they win it all? There are no certainties in the World Cup, that much is sure, as we have been treated to numerous surprise packages before. But looking to history and form, it would be a surprise to see the Samurai Blue advance from the round of 16. Realistically, the team is capable of a second place finish in the group to move on to the next round, but after that, it would be up to the heart of the players to play beyond their capabilities.
[via Latin Post]
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