The Japan Football World Cup team also named the Samurai Blue signifies Japan in men’s international football and it is organised by the Japan Football Association (JFA), the leading body for football in Japan. Japan was not the main football force until the finish of the 1980s, with a small and unprofessional team. Since the 1990s, when Japanese football became fully professionalised, Japan has arisen as one of the most successful sides in Asia.
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They have qualified for the last seven FIFA World Cups with the second round progressing in 2002, 2010, and 2018, and won the AFC Asian Cup a best four times, in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011. The side has also finished second in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Japan remains the only squad from the AFC other than Australia and Saudi Arabia to have touched the final of a senior FIFA men’s tournament.
Japan’s development in a short period has served as a motivation and example of how to develop a Football World Cup team. Their major continental competitors are South Korea, North Korea, China and, most newly, Australia; they also developed competition against Iran and Saudi Arabia. Japan was the first side from outside the Americas to contribute to the Copa America, having been invited in 1999, 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions of the contest, though they only played in the 1999 and 2019 events.
Japan Football World Cup Team Pre-war Era (the 1910s–1930s):
Japan’s initial international games were at the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo, where it was signified by a team from the Tokyo Higher Normal School. Although Japan’s football side made strong performances in swimming, baseball, and track and field, its football side hurt resounding defeats to the Republic of China and the Philippines. However, the game was indorsed in Japanese schools in the 1920s.
The Japan Football Association was shaped in 1921, and Japan linked to FIFA in May 1929. Japan’s first true national team as opposed to a college team was chosen to signify the country as a field at the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games and drew with China for the competition title. Shigeyoshi Suzuki trained the national team for its first Olympic appearance at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Japan was a contestant for the 1938 FIFA World Cup qualification but was removed before its scheduled qualifying game against the Dutch East Indies.
After World War II began in serious, Japan did not play in global competition, except for a handful of games against Manchuria and other colonies. Its last pre-war game for purposes of Elo ratings was a friendly against the Philippines in June 1940. While Korea was under Japanese rule, multiple Koreans played in Football World Cup for Japan, including Kim Yong-Sik from 1936 to 1940), Kim Sung-gan in 1940 and Lee Yoo-Hyung in 1940.
Football World Cup Team’s Post-war Era 1950s–1980s:
Japan’s post-war entrance was in the 1951 Asian Games in India. Japan re-joined FIFA in 1950 and played in qualifiers for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, but missed the AFC qualifying berth to South Korea after two games, beginning a strong competition. Japan also joined the Asian Football Association in 1954. Dettmar Cramer combined with the Japan national team as coach in 1960 and helped lead the side to the round of eight at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Japan’s first most important achievement in global football came in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where the side won the bronze medal. Although this result received the sport increased credit in Japan, the absence of an expert domestic league hindered its growth and Japan would not qualify for the FIFA World Cup until 30 years later. However, Japan had come close to qualifying for the 1986 Football World Cup but lost to South Korea in the deciding games. For more to know about Poland vs Saudi Arabia Tickets Click here.
Japan made its first entrance into the Asian Cup in 1988, where they were eliminated in the group phase following a draw with Iran and losses to South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The late 1980s saw real moves to professionalize the sport in Japan. JFA presented a Special Licensed Player system in 1986, allowing a limited number of expert players to compete in the domestic semi-professional league.
1990s rise of Japan World Cup team:
In 1991, the holders of the semi-professional Japan Soccer League decided to disband the league and re-form as the expert J. League, somewhat to raise the sport’s profile and to support the national team program. The following year, Japan hosted the 1992 Asian Cup and won their first championship by defeating Saudi Arabia in a 1–0 win during the final. The J. League was officially launched in 1993, causing interest in football and the national team to grow.
However, in its first effort to qualify with expert players, Japan barely missed a ticket to the 1994 World Cup after drawing with Iraq in the final game of the qualification round, recalled by fans as the “Agony of Doha”. Japan’s next contest was a defence of their central title at the 1996 Asian Cup. The team won all their games in the group phase but was eliminated in the quarter-finals after a 2–0 loss to Kuwait.
The nation’s first-ever Football World Cup appearance was in 1998 when Japan lost all their games. The first two fixtures went 1–0 in favour of Argentina and Croatia Football World Cup teams, and the campaign ended with a 2–1 defeat to Jamaica. Japan was enthralled in all three games, however, all three defeats were just one goal border.
Japan Football World team era 2000s
In the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, Japan managed to reclaim their title after defeating Saudi Arabia in the final, becoming Asian Champions for the second time. Two years later, Japan co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World Cup with South Korea. After a 2–2 draw with Belgium in their opening game, the Japanese squad advanced to the second round with a 1–0 win over Russia and a 2–0 triumph against Tunisia. However, they later exited the contest during the Round of 16, after losing 1–0 to ultimate third-place closers Turkey.
The 2004 AFC Asian Cup was held by China, the Japanese achieved to retain the title, though its trip had been more worrying. Facing entirely aggressive Chinese fans, the Japanese achieved to top their group after two wins over Thailand and Oman, before overcoming Jordan and Bahrain, both hard-fought games for Japan, to reach the final where they beat host China 3–1. On 8 June 2005, Japan was fit for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Its third successive Football World Cup, by beating North Korea 2–0 on neutral ground. However, Japan failed to advance to the Round of 16, losing to Australia 1–3, drawing Croatia 0–0 and losing to Brazil 1–4. The 2007 AFC Asian Cup saw Japan unsuccessful to defend the title. Although easily topped ahead of host Vietnam and two Arab rivals, Qatar and the UAE, the Japanese were tired in their game against Australia, where Japan won only by penalty shootout.
The 2010s for the Japan Football World Cup team:
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification, in the fourth round of the Asian Qualifiers, Japan became the first side other than the host, South Africa, to succeed after defeating Uzbekistan 1–0 away. Japan was put in Group E along with the Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon, and was not predictable highly due to uninspiring results in friendlies. Despite these criticisms, Japan went on to tremor its opening game of the 2010 World Cup with a 1–0 win against Cameroon, before then losing to the Netherlands 0–1.
Then, Japan beat Denmark 3–1 to advance to the next round against Paraguay, making it the first time Japan advanced from the group phase without hosting the World Cup. In the first knockout round, Japan was eliminated from the tournament following penalties after a 0–0 draw against Paraguay but received acclaim for its outstanding acts. After the FIFA World Cup, head coach Takeshi Okada resigned.
He was substituted by former Juventus and Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni. In his first few games, Japan recorded wins over Guatemala by 2–1) and Paraguay 1–0, as well as one of their best results, a 1–0 victory over Argentina. On March 24, 2022, Japan qualified for the Qatar Football World Cup, going to be held this year from 21 November to 18 December 2022.
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