World Cup Preview: Japan v Poland

Japan v Poland

All eyes will be on the Japan side this time round in Group H as at least a draw will see them through to the knock out stages of the World Cup as Poland have endured a surprisingly poor tournament and will be looking to play for credibility. Get ready for Japan v Poland.

Japan v Poland: World Cup Group H Preview

Location: Volgograd Arena (Volgograd)

Time: 3 pm GMT Thursday 28th June

Not many would have expected these two teams to be sitting in these positions in Group H at this time two weeks ago. The Polish were favourites to top the group with Japan favourites to finish bottom.

It has been a mixture of emotions for both sides so far and will both want to end the group stages with their heads held high. Japan will look to take advantage of a Polish side which won’t be feeling confident after a poor World Cup, but they could use that to bounce back and give their country something to cheer about.

Japan

Manager: Akira Nishino

Form: LLWWD

Preferred Formation: 4-2-3-1

Key Players:

Takashi Inui (SD Eibar)

The Japanese winger has set the World Cup alight for his home nation against Senegal, scoring a lovely goal and nearly giving the Asian side the lead later on in the game after he smashed the bar with a lovely curling effort from the edge of the box, leaving the Senegal goalkeeper stranded.

The La Liga man has also bagged an assist in the last game against Senegal setting up country legend Keisuke Honda, which could see the skilful player be sought after in the summer if he fires Japan into the Round of 16 which is looking very likely now.

Keisuke Honda (Pachuca)

The legend for his nation may not start games for his country now, but that does not stop the experienced man from making an impact from the bench. He claimed the assist for Osako’s winner against Colombia in Japan’s first game and he came on against Senegal to score a crucial equaliser which could see Japan reach the knock stages for the first time since South Africa in 2010.

The former AC Milan man will hope to possibly start against Poland in a hope that he can be the hero for his country once more.

Style of Play

Japan manager Akira Nishino has shown thus far that he is achieving the best out of his players. The Japanese players are all playing to their strengths, as they showed against a strong Senegal side, as the team looked to keep the ball on the floor and not allow the African country to use their strength in the air.

They will line up similar against a Poland side which will be very disappointed in their efforts so far. They will look to keep the threat of Robert Lewandowski to a low, as the striker hasn’t fired once yet this tournament.

Team News: Kawishima, Hasebe and Inui have all received bookings, therefore will look to be careful against Poland. Japan have no fresh injury concerns.

Predicted XI: Kawashima, Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo, Hasebe(C), Shibasaki, Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui, Osako

Poland

Manager: Adam Nawałka

Form: WDWLL

Preferred Formation: 3-4-3

Key Players:

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

The Bundesliga forward will feel very disappointed with his own and his team’s efforts so far this tournament, as one of the potential underdogs haven’t hit off in a group they were expected to win.

The experienced forward will want to repay the support shown by his country’s fans and look to spoil the party of the Japanese who will want to top the group unbeaten.

Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Brom)

The experienced man will want to stop the quick Japanese counter-attacks after which they have shown to be dangerous in the last two games. The comfortable midfielder will also want to show good performances as he may be looking to live the Hawthorns this summer after the club were relegated to the Championship after a poor season in the Midlands.

Style of Play: Nawałka will want his side to put on a show for the country back home whose hopes faded quickly in this tournament. He will look to bow out of the competition with three points and spoiling the party for the Japanese players as they look to progress.

He may look to take advantage of Lewandowski’s strength and power to cause problems to Japan’s defence, as they haven’t taken advantage of other sides weaknesses thus far.

Team News: Bednarek, Goralski and Krychowiak are all one booking off a ban. Centre-half Glik featured against Colombia and may feature again after injury.

Predicted XI: Szczesny, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Rybus, Krychowiak, Zielinski, Blaszczykowski, Milik, Grosicki, Lewandowski(C)

Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images