Tokyo (AFP) – Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu warned his players to get on the same page straight away after naming his squad for World Cup qualifiers against Saudi Arabia and Australia on Tuesday.
Japan travel to Jeddah to face the Saudis on October 8 before taking on Australia in Saitama four days later, having made a mixed start to their Group B campaign.
Moriyasu’s side slumped to a shock 1-0 opening home defeat to Oman earlier this month, before beating China 1-0 in an away match played in Doha because of the pandemic.
Moriyasu blamed the Oman loss on his players’ inability to adapt quickly to his team after spending time with their club sides.
“We don’t have much time, but the players need to switch from what they do with their clubs and get their heads around our team concept,” the manager said.
“We didn’t do that last time and we have to make sure we sort that out.”
Moriyasu named a 25-man squad featuring only five home-based players, with star midfielder Takefusa Kubo of Spanish side Real Mallorca missing through injury.
New Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu, who has impressed since joining the Gunners from Bologna in the summer, was included alongside Liverpool attacker Takumi Minamino.
Both Saudi Arabia and Australia have taken maximum points from their opening two games in Group B, and Moriyasu is wary of facing the Saudis in the heat of Jeddah.
“Europe and Japan are quite cool at the moment, so it will be difficult playing in hot conditions in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
“We have to think about how to play in that heat.”
Japan squad to play Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on October 8 and Australia in Saitama on October 12:
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg/FRA), Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Kosei Tani (Shonan Bellmare)
Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Sampdoria/ITA), Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Reds), Sei Muroya (Hannover/GER), Naomichi Ueda (Nimes/FRA), Kou Itakura (Schalke/GER), Yuta Nakayama (PEC Zwolle/NED), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal/ENG), Daiki Hashioka (Sint-Truiden/BEL)
Midfielders: Genki Haraguchi (Union Berlin/GER), Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes/ESP), Wataru Endo (Stuttgart/GER), Junya Ito (Genk/BEL), Takuma Asano (Bochum/GER), Takumi Minamino (Liverpool/ENG), Hidemasa Morita (Santa Clara/POR), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Koji Miyoshi (Antwerp/BEL), Ritsu Doan (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER)
Forwards: Yuya Osako (Vissel Kobe), Ado Onaiwu (Toulouse/FRA)