Japan midfielder Hotaru Yamaguchi remains doubtful and could force coach Vahid Halilhodzic into further tinkering for the World Cup qualifier against Iraq on Tuesday, when a win would massively boost the chance of finals appearance in a year's time in Russia.
"This is the most important game. We need valiant players with real strong determination," Halilhodzic told a press conference on Monday, aware that a win will lift Japan three points above rivals Saudi Arabia and Australia with two games to go in Group B.
Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima has urged his teammates to try and put security fears to the back of their minds when they play Iraq in neutral Iran next Tuesday in a final-round World Cup qualifier.
All of Iraq's "home" qualifiers are being played in neutral countries due to ongoing unrest in the war-scarred nation, but Japan travel to Iran on Thursday night just 24 hours after terror struck its capital Tehran.
Japan drew 1-1 with Syria in a World Cup qualifying warm-up Wednesday, a result that cost them midfielder Shinji Kagawa to an injury.
Gamba Osaka's Yasuyuki Konno leveled for Vahid Halilhodzic's men midway through the second half, after Syria opened the scoring minutes after halftime. Japan travel to Tehran to take on Iraq in a Group B qualifier Tuesday.
Leandro struck twice as Kashima Antlers bounced back from their midweek Asian Champions League exit, beating struggling Sanfrecce Hiroshima 3-1 away in the J-League on Sunday in their first match under new manager Go Oiwa.
Atsutaka Nakamura opened the scoring for the reigning champions on 14 minutes at Edion Stadium and then set up Leandro for the second before the Brazilian midfielder made it 3-0 just before the break.
Urawa Reds reached their first Asian Champions League quarterfinals since 2008 with a gutsy 3-0 extra-time victory over Jeju United on Wednesday, but all hell broke loose after the game as tempers boiled over at Saitama Stadium.
Ryota Moriwaki's 114th-minute goal gave Urawa a 3-2, round-of-16 aggregate win to celebrate, but Jeju felt the hosts took it too far -- in particular Japan defender Tomoaki Makino.
Kashima Antlers have let go of manager Masatada Ishii after they missed their chance to advance to the Asian Champions League quarterfinals, the J-League first-division side said Wednesday.
A day after Ishii's men beat China's Guanghzou Evergrande 2-1 at home in the round of 16 for a 2-2 aggregate draw but were eliminated from the continental championship on the away goals rule, the club said the 50-year-old manager will be replaced by coach Go Oiwa.
Kawasaki Frontale scored a resounding 3-1 victory over Muangthong United in the first leg of the Asian Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday.
After Teerasil Dangda handed the hosts the lead in the third minute of first-half injury time, Kawasaki captain and reigning J-League MVP Kengo Nakamura, Yu Kobayashi and Hiroyuki Abe netted three unanswered goals in the second half.
Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda said on Twitter on Sunday he will be departing AC Milan at the end of the season, bringing to an end a difficult stint at the Italian giants characterized by frustratingly limited playing time.
But the 30-year-old Japan international refused to go quietly, scoring his first -- and probably last -- goal of the Serie A season as AC Milan beat Bologna 3-0 at the San Siro on Sunday. His last game in Milan's famous black and red strip will come against Cagliari on May 28.
Former Barcelona youth prodigy Takefusa Kubo came off the bench and set up Ritsu Doan's winner as Japan came from behind to defeat South Africa 2-1 on Sunday in their Group D opener at the U-20 World Cup.
Grant Margeman handed South Africa the lead in the seventh minute but Koki Ogawa leveled three minutes after the break, and the 59th-minute introduction of the 15-year-old Kubo had a telling impact.
Konami today confirmed the release date for its FIFA rival. Fans of the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise have long been waiting for the new title to arrive. While they have known that one was in the pipeline, Konami hadn’t confirmed when it would be released. It has finally confirmed the Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 release date for PC and consoles.
Konami confirmed today that Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 is going to be released on September 12th for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game will also be making its way to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 so last-generation console owners will be able to get in on the action as well.
Southampton's Japan international center-back Maya Yoshida was pleased with his side's defensive performance as the Saints drew 0-0 at home to Manchester United in the English Premier League on Wednesday night.
Yoshida helped keep the likes of England striker Wayne Rooney quiet as United were limited to one shot on target. Southampton, though, were unable to capitalize on a number of chances and Manolo Gabbiadini saw his early penalty saved by United goalkeeper Sergio Romero.