Japan was not a major football force until the end of the 1980s, with a small and amateur squad. Since the 1990s, when Japanese football became fully professionalized, Japan has emerged as one of the most successful teams in Asia; they have qualified for the last 7 FIFA World Cups with progress from the group stages in 2002, 2010, and 2018, the most of any Asian squad and won the AFC Asian Cup a record 4 times, in 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011.
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The squad has also finished 2nd in the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2019 Football World Cup. Japan remains the only squad from other than Australia and Saudi Arabia to have reached the final of a senior FIFA World Cup men’s struggle. Japan’s progression in a short interval of time has served as an inspiration and example of how to develop football.
Their principal continental rivals are South Korea, North Korea, China and, most recently, Australia they also established rivalries in contradiction with Iran and Saudi Arabia. Japan was the 1st team from outside the Americas to participate in the Copa America, having been invited in the 1999, 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions of the World Cup, though they only played in the 1999 and 2019 events.
Japan’s initial global matches were at the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo, where it was signified by a team from the Tokyo Higher Normal School. Though Japan made strong showings in swimming, baseball, and track and field, its football squad suffered resounding defeats to the Republic of China and the Philippines. Yet, the game was indorsed in Japanese schools in the 1920s. The Japan Football Association was formed in 1921, and Japan joined FIFA World Cup in May 1929.
FIFA World Cup: Japan’s 1st true state team as opposed to a university team
Japan’s 1st true state team as opposed to a university team chosen to signify the country was fielded at the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games and drew with China for the contest title. Shigeyoshi Suzuki coached the national team to its 1st Olympic arrival at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Japan was an entrant for the 1938 Football World Cup qualification but withdrew before its scheduled succeeding match in contradiction to the Dutch East Indies.
After World War II began in earnest, Japan did not play in worldwide competition, except for a handful of matches in contradiction of Manchuria and other colonies. Its last World Cup match for purposes of Elo ratings was a friendly in contradiction to the Philippines in June 1940. While Korea was under Japanese rule, multiple Koreans played in worldwide competitions for Japan, including Kim Yong-Sik 1936–40, Kim Sung-gan (1940) and Lee Yoo-Hyung 1940.
Japan’s postwar entrance was in the 1951 Asian Games in India. Japan re-joined FIFA in 1950 and played as finalists for the 1954 FIFA World Cup, but lost the AFC succeeding berth to South Korea after two matches, beginning an intense rivalry. Japan also joined the Asian Football Confederation in 1954. Dettmar Cramer joined the Japan state team as coach in 1960 and helped lead the squad to the round of 8 at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Japan’s 1st major achievement in worldwide football came in the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, where the squad won the bronze medal. Although this result earned the sport amplified recognition in Japan, the absence of a qualified domestic league hindered its growth and Japan would not succeed in the FIFA World Cup until 30 years later. Nonetheless, Japan had come close to qualifying for the 1986 FIFA Cup but lost to South Korea in the deciding competition. For more know about Football World Cup Tickets.
Football World Cup Final: Japan made its 1st appearance
Japan made its 1st appearance in the Asian Cup in 1988, where they were eliminated in the group stage following a draw with Iran and wounded to South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar World Cup. The late 1980s saw actual moves to professionalize the game in Japan. Introduced a Special Licensed Player system in 1986, allowing a limited number of professional players to contest in the domestic semi-professional league.
Action committees were held in 1988 and 1989 to discuss the overview of a fully professional league in Japan. In 1991, the owners of the semi-professional Japan Soccer League decided to disband the league and re-form as the qualified J.League, partly to raise the sport’s profile and to strengthen the national Football World Cup team program. The following year, Japan hosted the 1992 Asian Cup and won their 1st title by beating Saudi Arabia in a 1–0 win during the final.
The J.League was formally launched in 1993, causing interest in football and the national World team to grow. However, in its 1st attempt to qualify with qualified players, Japan narrowly missed a ticket to the 1994 World Cup after drawing with Iraq in the last match of the condition round, remembered by admirers as the Agony of Doha. Japan’s next competition was a defence of their continental title at the 1996 Asian Cup.
The squad won all their games in the group stage but was removed in the quarter-finals after a 2–0 loss to Kuwait. The nation’s 1st-ever FIFA World Cup appearance was in 1998 when Japan lost all their games. The 1st 2 fixtures went 1–0 in favour of Argentina and Croatia, and the campaign was over with a 2–1 defeat to Jamaica. Japan impressed in all three games, however, all 3 defeats were just one goal margin.
In the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, Japan managed to reclaim their title after beating Saudi Arabia in the final, becoming Asian Champions for the 2nd time. 2 years later, Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea. After a 2–2 draw with Belgium in their inaugural match, the Japanese team advanced to the 2nd round with a 1–0 win over Russia and a 2–0 victory in contradiction of Tunisia.
Though, they subsequently exited the tournament during the Round of 16, after losing 1–0 to eventual 3rd-place finishers in Turkey. In the 2004 Football World Cup hosted by China, the Japanese achieved to retain the title, though its journey had been more worrying. Facing entirely hostile Chinese admirers, the Japanese achieved to top their group after two wins over Thailand and Oman, before overwhelming Jordan and Bahrain, both hard-fought games for Japan.
To reach the last where they beat host China 3–1. On 8 June 2005, Japan was capable for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, its third consecutive Cup, by beating North Korea 2–0 on neutral ground. Though, Japan failed to advance to the Round of 16, losing to Australia 1–3, drawing to Croatia 0–0 and losing to Brazil 1–4. The 2007 AFC Asian Cup saw Japan flop to defend the title.
Though easily topped ahead of host Vietnam and 2 Arab rivals, Qatar and the UAE, Japan exhausted their game in contradiction to Australia, where Japan won only by penalty shootout. Having been exhausted from the success, Japan lost to Saudi Arabia in the Football World Cup semi-finals before falling in the 3rd-place match in contradiction to South Korea.
During the 2010 World Cup qualification, in the 4th round of the Asian Qualifiers, Japan became the 1st team other than the host South Africa to qualify after beating 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 shock its opening match of the 2010 World Cup with a 1–0 win in contradiction of Cameroon, before subsequently losing to the Netherlands 0–1. Then, Japan beat Denmark 3–1 to advance to the next round in contradiction to Paraguay, making it the 1st time ever Japan developed from the group stage without hosting the Cup.
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