Liverpool winger Takumi Minamino and Villarreal playmaker Takefusa Kubo headline a 24-man squad named Thursday by the Japan Football Association for a pair of friendlies this month in Graz, Austria.
The Samurai Blue will face Panama on Nov. 13 and Mexico four days later at Graz’s Liebenauer Stadium.
As with Japan’s two friendlies last month in Utrecht, Netherlands, manager Hajime Moriyasu has picked a squad comprised entirely of Europe-based players.
FK Rostov defensive midfielder Kento Hashimoto and Partizan Belgrade winger Takuma Asano will join the squad after being unable to travel to the Netherlands last month because of coronavirus safety restrictions.
Marseille left-back Yuto Nagatomo has been called up after skipping the Utrecht friendlies against Cameroon and Ivory Coast due to a lack of conditioning. Werder Bremen forward Yuya Osako, meanwhile, has been left out at the request of his club.
“I’m thankful to have such a strong squad available. We aim to win both games,” Moriyasu said in an online press conference.
The decision to play “home” friendlies in Europe, while omitting players from Japan’s domestic J. League, was made in light of travel restrictions resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Strict conditions remain for foreign passport holders seeking to enter Japan, while Japanese returning from abroad are required to quarantine upon arrival to limit the spread of the virus.
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