Japan reveals quarterfinal lineup against Iran

Japan Football has made a few changes to its starting lineup, with Morita replacing Hatate’s injury absence.

Hajime Moriyasu’s Japan national soccer team will face Iran in the Qatar Asian Cup quarterfinals at Qatar Education City Stadium on June 3 (ET). Moriyasu has stuck with the same formation, which is capable of switching between 4-1-4-1 and 4-3-3.

Ayase Ueda (Feyenoord) is still the center front. The second line features Daizen Maeda (Celtic) on the left and Doan Ritz (Freiburg) on the right. Maeda is making his first start of the tournament, replacing Keito Nakamura (Stade de Reims).

Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad) and Hidemasa Morita (Sporting) will share the center back duties, with Leo Hatate (Celtic) previously partnering Kubo but suffering a right calf injury in the last 16, Morita will take over the baton.

Captain Wataru Endo (Liverpool), 안전놀이터 who has been the anchor, remains the link between the front and back.

Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart) and Seiya Maikuna (Cerezo Osaka) are the left and right wingbacks. Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal) and Ko Itakura (Borussia Mönchengladbach) are the central defenders. Goalkeeper Shion Suzuki (Sint-Truiden) will wear the gloves.

Compared to the Round of 16 match against Bahrain, Nakayama, Hatate and Nakamura returned to the bench, while Ito, Morita and Maeda were given a chance to start.

Japan are ranked 17th and Iran 21st in the FIFA rankings, making the quarterfinals a showdown between Asia’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Japan had previously met Iran in the semifinals of the 2019 UAE Asian Cup, winning 3-0.

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