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Completely excluded from Japan’s Mitoma training due to ‘injury’

Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton) is unlikely to play in the third leg. He did not participate in training.

The Japan national soccer team, led by Hajime Moriyasu, will face Indonesia in the final Group D match of the Qatar Asian Cup at the Altumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Sept. 24 (KST).

The stakes are high. Japan defeated Vietnam 4-2 in their first match. But in the second game, they bowed to Iraq, 1-0. With a 1-1 record, they finished in second place. The result of the final game will determine whether they advance to the Round of 16. Japan could face South Korea in the round of 16. The second-place finisher in Group D will face the first-place finisher in Group E. South Korea is in Group E.

The final opponent in the group is Indonesia, led by Shin Tae-yong. In terms of objective strength, Japan is the overwhelming favorite. Japan is ranked 17th by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) as of December 2023. It is the highest ranked country in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). They entered the tournament as the No. 1 ranked team in Asia. All the big names were there. Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Wataru Endo (Liverpool), Ko Itakura (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco), and many others play in big European leagues. Japan filled 20 of its final 26 roster spots with Europeans. Indonesia, on the other hand, is ranked 146th, the lowest in the group.

Japan is determined to bury the hatchet with Indonesia in the final match. Japan held an official training session at the Al Ersal Training Site in Doha, Qatar on the 22nd. All 25 players participated in the training, including Mitoma and the up-and-coming players brought in as practice partners for the tournament. An official from the Japan Football Association said, “Mitoma is at the hotel. I can’t say anything more.” Mitoma was injured in his team’s last game before the tournament. It was initially unclear if he would be able to play in the Asian Cup. However, Mitoma defied expectations and quickly returned to action. He recently returned to training. However, he watched the first two group games from the bench. But before the third game, he didn’t even show up at the training center. Japanese reporters on the field said, “It looks like Mitoma won’t be able to play until the third game.”

Moriyasu warmed up for about 25 minutes before the game against Indonesia. The players were in relatively good spirits. Doan Ritz (Freiburg), Minamino, Kubo, and others led the way. Afterward, the team practiced behind closed doors for more than 30 minutes.


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