Japan’s Getting Ready for the 2022 World Cup

There’s no time for celebrations in Japan after a record-breaking performance at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The country is already preparing for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar that kicks off on the 21st of November. 

Of course, all the incredible athletes that brought home three gold, six silver, and nine bronze medals, have been treated like heroes for their incredible achievements. To put things in perspective, Japan only brought home 13 medals from Pyeongchang in 2018. However, there’s a good reason why football is king, and no other sport, even if it brings home Olympic gold, can compete with that. So, let’s check out how they plan to get their tickets for Qatar and how high the hopes are. 

The Road to Qatar

Few football fans outside Asia know that the qualifiers for this continent look a lot different than what’s going on in Europe or the Americas. In particular, for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, the process includes four rounds and two of them double for qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup. Japan started from the second round of the qualifying process and came out on top of Group F with maximum points – 24. 

In the third round, Japan shares Group B with the likes of Saudi Arabia, Australia, China, Oman, and Vietnam. From the eight matches played so far in round three, Japan won six and lost just two. As a result, they’re in second position, a spot that ensures direct qualification for the 2022 World Cup. 

The start of round three came with a shocking defeat against Oman. However, Japan quickly got back to its form and only lost one more game out of the eight played until the time of writing this article. 

The 18 points collected so far put them in a good position to secure second place or even take the first position. Australia, Japan’s next opponent, is three points behind and they still need to play Saudi Arabia in their final game. On the other hand, Japan plays against last-place Vietnam and a win is much more likely. 

Japan's Getting Ready for the 2022 World Cup

However, Samurai Blue needs to treat both games with maximum focus to secure their tickets for Qatar. A win against Australia would qualify them before the final game against Vietnam. The hopes are high for a positive end result after the 2-1 win at the Saitama Stadium in October. 

Japan at the Previous World Cups

With high hopes of solving the qualifying equation in their following match against Australia, Japan has every reason to aim for a great performance at the final event. So far, the team made it out of the group stage three times. 

The best performance was in 2022 when they were also co-hosts of the tournament. Then, Japan took the ninth position after making it to the round of 16. The 2018 Russia World Cup saw the Samurai Blue repeat the performance of reaching the round of 16. They secured the second position in a group shared with Colombia, Poland, and Senegal.

Unfortunately, they met a very competitive Belgium side in the round of 16 and they lost 3-2. They really put up a fight but in the end, Belgium advanced to the next stage. They say there’s no glory in defeat. But the list of teams defeated by Belgium after Japan includes huge names like Brazil and England. And neither team managed to score two goals against Belgium, showing how efficient Japan was. 

Lots of Excitement around the Team

While nobody can predict how the last games in the qualifiers will go or if Japan will go to Qatar, one thing is certain – there’s plenty of momentum building around the Samurai Blue. Their excellent results against Australia and Saudi Arabia gave them plenty of reason to dream about an excellent World Cup campaign. 

Let’s hope that there will be no reason to postpone the 2022 World Cup and we’ll all be able to enjoy the fantastic display of football prepared by all the participants. Japan’s team is definitely in great form and, with some help from a lucky draw, they could even go beyond the round of 16 and improve their all-time record. 

After all, just like the Olympic team brought home 18 medals at the Winter Games, there’s nobody stopping the Nipon football team from reaching new heights. And what better moment to do so than the 2022 Qatar World Cup – the last edition with 32 teams. Starting in 2026, the final tournament will expand to 48 teams?

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