There is certainly room for improvement as Japan takes the defense of its Asian Cup title into the quarterfinals on Friday, but the way the team has improved with each performance so far in Australia suggests the best is yet to come.

Japan faces the United Arab Emirates with a place in the semifinals up for grabs, having come through the group stage with three wins out of three and yet to concede a single goal. A first-round exit would have been a major shock given that the opposition consisted of Palestine, Iraq and Jordan, but Japan appears to be gaining momentum with each game and will head into the quarterfinal in Sydney confident of further progress.

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