2022 World Cup: Japan's Squad and Team Profile

2022 World Cup: Japan's Squad and Team Profile
The World Cup 2022 in Qatar is upon us. Everything you need to know about Japan, which has been drawn into Group E of the 2022 World Cup along with Spain, Costa Rica and Germany.
2 min read
18 November, 2022
Taniguchi Shogo (L), Sakai Hiroki, goalkeeper Gonda Shuichi and captain Shibasaki Gaku of Japan listen to the national anthem during the international friendly between Japan and Canada [Getty Images]



  • Best World Cup performance: Last 16 in 2002, 2010, 2018
  • Other honours: Asian Cup winners 1992, 2000, 2004, 2011
  • FIFA ranking: 24
  • Main clubs: Kawasaki Frontale, Yokohama F Marinos, Urawa Reds
  • How they qualified: Japan finished second behind Saudi Arabia in Group B in the third round of Asian qualifying
  • Coach: Hajime Moriyasu, 54, was appointed in 2018 to replace Akira Nishino, who led the Blue Samurai to the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia. Moriyasu took Japan to the final of the Asian Cup six months after his appointment. Also served as Japan's Olympic manager at the Tokyo Games and took the team to the semi-finals, only to miss out on a medal. A former Japan international midfielder himself, he played for Sanfrecce Hiroshima and later steered them to three J-League titles between 2012 and 2015.
  • Key player: Wataru Endo, 29, is the gumshield-wearing midfield lynchpin who holds Japan together. A non-playing member of the squad in 2018, Endo won the AFC Champions League with Urawa Red Diamonds before moving to Europe. He played for Sint-Truiden in Belgium and then joined Stuttgart, the side he now captains and for whom he scored the stoppage-time goal that kept them in the Bundesliga on the final day of last season.


Group Fixtures & Matches


  1. November 23: Germany v Japan
  2. November 27: Japan v Costa Rica
  3. December 1: Japan v Spain


Japan's World Cup 2022 squad

Goalkeepers: Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg/FRA), Daniel Schmidt (Sint-Truiden/BEL)

Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Schalke/GER), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal/ENG), Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Reds), Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale), Ko Itakura (Borussia Moenchengladbach/GER), Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale), Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart/GER)

Midfielders: Wataru Endo (Stuttgart/GER), Hidemasa Morita (Sporting/POR), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Junya Ito (Reims/FRA), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton/ENG), Takumi Minamino (Monaco/FRA), Yuki Soma (Nagoya Grampus), Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes/ESP), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad/ESP), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg/GER)

Forwards: Daizen Maeda (Celtic/SCO), Takuma Asano (Bochum/GER), Ayase Ueda (Cercle Brugge/BEL)