Newly-appointed head coach Akira Nishino announced his 23-man provisional Japan squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ at a press conference in Tokyo.
Nishino named an experienced team, including the likes of goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, defenders Yuto Nagatomo and Maya Yoshida, midfielders Makoto Hasebe, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa – all with multiple World Cup appearances.
The majority of the squad ply their trade for clubs in Europe, while eight members of the squad play for teams in the J.League, the country’s domestic competition. The one outlier from the trend is Honda, who plays for Pachuca in Mexico.
Japan fell to a 2-0 defeat to Ghana in an international friendly on Wednesday. Their next international friendly is on 8 June against Switzerland in Lugano before playing Paraguay on 12 June in Innsbruck, Austria.
Japan is in Group H at the World Cup, where they will compete against Colombia, Senegal and Poland.
Match highlights from Japan’s 2-0 defeat by Ghana (Video: JFATV)
Japan provisional squad
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz/France), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol);
Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray/Turkey), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Red Diamonds), Wataru Endo (Urawa Red Diamonds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton/England), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille/France), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg/Germany), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers);
Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt/Germany), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca/Mexico), Takashi Inui (Eibar/Spain), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund/Germany), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka/Japan), Genki Haraguchi (Fortuna Dusseldorf/Germany), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe/Spain), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale);
Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City/England), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen/Germany), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz/Germany).
All squads are provisional until the final list of 23 players is announced by FIFA, following their submission by participating teams, on 4 June.