Outright Odds

Japan odds to win World Cup 2022: Confirmed squad, route to the final, ranking & form

By Ben Green

Published: 21:50, 1 December 2022

Japan have reached successive knockout rounds of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

The Samurai Blue have reached the last-16 in three World Cups since making their tournament debut in 1998, but never in successive competitions — until now. In 2018, Akira Nishino’s men reached the first knockout phase but were valiantly eliminated 3-2 by Belgium.

Now under the auspices of Hajime Moriyasu, the East Asian nation have defied all expectations to beat Spain and Germany in a ‘Group of Death’ and top the table, sending the latter home and setting up a last-16 match-up against Croatia.


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Ever since reaching the last 16 in 2002, the year they co-hosted the tournament with South Korea, Japan has been a consistent part of the World Cup furniture. In 2006, Japan, then managed by Brazilian legend Zico, crashed out of the groups, before making the last 16 in 2010 under Takeshi Okada. It was a similar tale of woe in Brazil, as the Samurai Blue flattered to deceive in Group C, finishing dead last without a win to show for their efforts. But, four years ago, they once again crystallised their neutral-loving existence in the public psyche, both on the pitch and off it. Japan rose to prominence in 2018 after images of their fans cleaner up stadia surfaced during the tournament, while their team on the pitch progressed through the groups. It was a memorable display by both travelling supporters and players. They’ve mimicked that feat so far in Qatar.


Latest Japan odds to win the World Cup

Betting market Bet UK
Japan to win the World Cup odds 70/1
Ritsu Doan World Cup Golden Boot odds 60/1

Japan route to the World Cup 2022 Final in Qatar

Group stage results

Fixture Stadium Date*
Germany 1-2 Japan Khalifa International Stadium 23 November 2022
Japan 1-2 Costa Rica Ahmad bin Ali Stadium 27 November 2022
Japan 2-1 Spain Khalifa International Stadium 01 December 2022

Who could Japan meet in the knockout rounds?

As shock Group E winners, Japan face Croatia in the first knockout round, who also confirmed their place ahead of a heavyweight in Belgium. From there, be prepared to face expected Group G winners Brazil (who will likely win their match against Group G’s second-placed nation), before a semi-final that could consist of England, Argentina, France, Germany or Spain.

Route as Group E winners Potential opponent
Round of 16 Croatia
Quarter-Final Brazil
Semi-Final Argentina
Final France

Japan World Cup 2022 squad

Player  Position Age Club
Eiji Kawashima Goalkeeper 39 Strasbourg
Shuichi Gonda Goalkeeper 33 Shimizu S-Pulse
Daniel Schmidt Goalkeeper 30 Sint-Truiden
Maya Yoshida Defender 34 Schalke 04
Yuto Nagatomo Defender 36 FC Tokyo
Hiroki Sakai Defender 32 Urawa Red Diamonds
Miki Yamane Defender 28 Kawasaki Frontale
Shogo Taniguchi Defender 31 Kawasaki Frontale
Hiroki Ito Defender 23 VfB Stuttgart
Takehiro Tomiyasu Defender 23 Arsenal
Ko Itakura Defender 25 Borussia Monchengladbach
Takumi Minamino Midfielder 27 Monaco
Wataru Endo Midfielder 29 VfB Stuttgart
Gaku Shibasaki Midfielder 30 Leganés
Ritsu Dōan Midfielder 24 SC Freiburg
Kaoru Mitoma Midfielder 25 Brighton & Hove Albion
Takefusa Kubo Midfielder 21 Real Sociedad
Hidemasa Morita Midfielder 27 Sporting CP
Junya Ito Midfielder 29 Reims
Daichi Kamada Midfielder 26 Eintracht Frankfurt
Ao Tanaka Midfielder 24 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Yuki Soma Midfielder 25 Nagoya Grampus
Takuma Asano Forward 27 VfL Bochum
Shuto Machino Forward 23 Shonan Bellmare
Ayase Ueda Forward 24 Cercle Brugge
Daizen Maeda Forward 25 Celtic

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Japan players to watch at this year’s World Cup 2022

Japan top World Cup Golden Boot contender – Takumi Minamino/Ritsu Doan

Takumi Minamino never really took the Premier League by storm during his time for Liverpool and that ephemeral stint on the South Coast with Southampton, but the versatile forward has regularly delivered for his country. That period in the Premier League, although largely underwhelming, will no doubt have built resilience in Minamino, and given him a taste of the real hustle and bustle of elite football. On his day, he is a tricky operator and could prove Japan’s talismanic force once again. However, it is Ritsu Doan who is looking the more likely to win that ever-elusive gong with his two goals against Germany and Spain. He’s certainly proven he can do it against the very best.

Japan player to watch – Daichi Kamada

Daichi Kamada was inspiring for Frankfurt in last season’s Europa League win. He is simply a tremendous midfielder, one of the most underrated in Hesse and has been absolutely vital for the Samurai Blue as they took on two of the world’s most formidable midfields in Spain and Germany. The 26-year-old is industrious, possesses great vision and is excellent with the ball at his feet. He has certainly surprised some people in Group E.

Japan emerging player to look out for – Takefusa Kubo

A moniker like ‘the Japanese Messi’ is always going to place an immediate spotlight on you, and that’s exactly what happened to Takefusa Kubo during the formative stages of his career. The now 21-year-old has been on the books of both Barcelona and Real Madrid in his still tender years and is now a permanent fixture at Real Sociedad. Lightning-quick feet, skill in abundance and creativity that’s both mercurial and occasionally mesmeric, Kubo gives Japan an element of unpredictability and wonder.


Japan tactical analysis & likely formation at the World Cup

There is nothing particularly ground-breaking about Hajime Moriyasu’s system and style. The former Japan international tends to set his stall up in a variation of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, emphasising midfield overloads to protect the backline and keep hold of possession. With Daichi Kamada as one of his midfielders of choice, Moriyasu has set up in a 4-2-3-1, with the Frankfurt man pushing a little higher as a quasi-10 to unlock doors ‘in the hole’.

Behind him, Sporting workhorse Hidemasa Morita has offered bundles off energy and industry (as he has shown in the Champions League this season), while Wataru Endo has brought a bit of grit and defensive resilience. Takefusa Kubo and Junya Ito have largely taken the flanks, with Doan coming in as a key insurance policy on the bench.


Japan’s previous World Cup finishes

Year

Finish

1930

Did not enter

1934

Did not enter

1938

Withdrew

1950

Suspended from FIFA

1954

Did not qualify

1958

Did not enter

1962

Did not qualify

1966

Did not enter

1970

Did not qualify

1974

Did not qualify

1978

Did not qualify

1982

Did not qualify

1986

Did not qualify

1990

Did not qualify

1994

Did not qualify

1998

Group stage

2002

Round of 16

2006

Group stage

2010

Round of 16

2014

Group stage

2018

Round of 16

Japan FAQs

Where are Japan in the Fifa World Rankings?

Japan are currently ranked 24th in the Fifa World Rankings.

Who is the Japan manager?

Hajime Moriyasu is the man in the dugout. The 54-year-old made 35 appearances for Japan during his playing days, but all of his appearances came before they reached the 1998 World Cup for the first time.

Who is the current Japan captain?

That honour is currently held by veteran centre-back Maya Yoshida. The former Southampton defender (now at Schalke 04) has 124 caps for his country.

How many times have Japan won the World Cup? 

Japan have never won the World Cup, nor has any other Asian nation.

How many times have Japan competed in the World Cup?

Japan have appeared in the past six World Cups, having never made an appearance before that (pre-1998).

Who has scored Japan’s most goals in World Cup tournaments?

Legendary midfielder Keisuke Honda has four goals at World Cups for Japan, making him his nation’s top scorer at the tournament.

Which player from Japan has the most World Cup appearances?

Makoto Hasebe, Eiji Kawashima and Yuto Nagatomo all have 11 World Cup appearances from the 2010, 2014 and 2018 tournaments. Hasebe has since retired from international duty, but Kawashima and Nagatomo are expected to feature in Qatar.


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