• Kyodo


Japan will head into their World Cup qualifying clash against China on Tuesday in stronger shape than in their opening Group B match, when they suffered a shock loss against Oman, manager Hajime Moriyasu has said.

All 23 members of the Samurai Blue squad took part in a final match-eve practice on Monday, running light drills on the air-conditioned pitch at Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium.

With the mostly Europe-based squad having convened in Japan shortly before last Thursday’s 1-0 upset against Oman at Panasonic Stadium, the subsequent time together is said to have seen an improved performance on the training ground.

“We’ve gone up a gear,” Moriyasu said. “There is a desire to improve the quality of every play in practice.

“We want to go all out and make our best effort to win. Of course the loss to Oman was a disappointment, but we need to reflect and change course, so we can give our best against China.”

Manager Li Tie’s Chinese side is also seeking to bounce back following a 3-0 loss to Australia in their opening match of the final Asian qualifying stage for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“We’ve been practicing our defense these past few days. Japan are strong opponents, but we’re confident,” he said.

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