• Kyodo


Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic picked in-form Gent striker Yuya Kubo and also sprung a few surprises on Thursday as he named his 25-man squad for the upcoming friendly against Syria and World Cup final-round qualifier away to Iraq.

Kubo, who scored in Japan’s last two qualifiers and has bagged 11 goals since joining Belgian club Gent in January, was named as expected along with Shinji Okazaki and Shinji Kagawa for the June 7 match against Syria in Tokyo and the qualifier against Iraq in neutral Iran on June 13.

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