Striker Takuma Asano says Japan will not be intimidated by Germany in their World Cup opener, despite Asian teams enduring a torrid tournament so far. Hosts Qatar lost 2-0 to Ecuador in Sunday’s opening game and Iran were on the wrong end of a 6-2 drubbing by England the following day. Lightning-quick forward Asano is confident Japan will not suffer the same fate when they play the Germans in Group E and says the Blue Samurai have “nothing to fear”.
“There’s definitely a difference in the level of Asian teams compared to Europe and South America and we’re not there yet,” said the Bochum striker.
“But you never know what’s going to happen in a tournament like this.
“You need a lot of qualities like strategy and tactics but senior players keep telling me that the thing you need when it counts is a team that really wants it.”
The Japanese Bundesliga club have eight players in their squad and insist there will be no underdogs when they take to the pitch in Doha.
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Defender Takehiro Tomiyasu, who played in the Premier League with Arsenal, said Japan had to be realistic but admitted their priority was not to concede goals.
“I don’t think we need to give them too much respect,” Tomiyasu said.
“Obviously we have to be realistic sometimes. I think we have to adjust the balance depending on what happens in the match.”
Japan also drew with Costa Rica and Spain in a tough Group E.
The four-time Asian champions have never progressed further than the second round of the World Cup but forward Takumi Minamino has not been intimidated by the quality of Qatar’s opposition.
“Most players in Japan play overseas and we are competing with players from all over the world,” said the former Liverpool man, who is now based in Monaco.
“With Japan, our opponents may be ranked higher than us, but that gives us an inferior mentality and we’re building on that.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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