Japan will not leave anything to chance in its “tough” Asian World Cup qualifying match against Syria, manager Hajime Moriyasu said Monday.
Speaking to reporters on the eve of the Group B clash at Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Moriyasu indicated he would avoid experimenting and pick his strongest available lineup.
“It’s going to be a very tough match. I’m not looking to try anything new. I just want to put together the best players and meet the challenge,” Moriyasu said.
“Both the players and coaching staff are doing their best to prepare for victory in the time we have.”
While the Samurai Blue coasted to a 5-0 win at home to Myanmar in their opening qualifier on Thursday, including a hat-trick from Ayase Ueda, Moriyasu said he wanted his team to be more clinical with scoring opportunities.
They can expect a tougher challenge against a Syrian outfit which opened the second stage of Asian qualifying with a 1-0 win against North Korea in Jeddah.
The Syrian side is managed by Argentine Hector Cuper, who was at the reins for Uzbekistan when it lost 2-1 to Moriyasu’s Japan side at the 2019 Asian Cup.
“He is a manager I respect,” Moriyasu said. “His teams are highly organized, with skilled players in clearly defined roles.”
The Samurai Blue are aiming to qualify for their eighth straight World Cup finals. The draw for the 2026 tournament in North America will be expanded from 32 to 48 teams, with a record eight qualifying directly from Asia.