Lodz: Japan arrive in Poland for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland looking to impress on the global stage after reaching the semi-finals of last year’s AFC U-19 Championship.
Join the-AFC.com as we detail all you need to know about the 1999 runners-up ahead of their eagerly anticipated Group B campaign.
Group B: Who, Where, When
Thursday, May 23, 2019 v Ecuador @ Bydgoszcz Stadium, Bydgoszcz. Kick-off: 20:30 (local time)
Sunday, May 26, 2019 v Mexico @ Gdynia Stadium, Gdynia. Kick-off 15:30 (local time)
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 v Italy @ Bydgoszcz Stadium, Bydgoszcz. Kick-off: 18:00 (local time)
All You Need To Know - Japan
How They Qualified
Japan were rarely troubled during the group stage of their AFC U-19 Championship Indonesia 2018 campaign, as wins over DPR Korea, Thailand and Iraq saw them top the Group B standings. A 2-0 win over Indonesia in the quarter-finals duly followed, before Japan were beaten 2-0 in the last four by eventual champions Saudi Arabia.
Thirteen members of Japan’s squad from the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship have been retained for the U-20 World Cup. Among them is Kawasaki Frontale striker Taisei Miyashiro who netted four goals for his country in Indonesia, while rising star Jun Nishikawa – named Most Valuable Player when Japan claimed the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship title – has also been included by head coach Masanaga Kageyama.
昨日行われたU-20日本代表 トレーニングマッチのをInstagramにアップしました！#daihyo #U20WC
FIFA U-20ワールドカップ ポーランド
5/24 03:30 vsエクアドル🇪🇨
5/26 22:30 vsメキシコ🇲🇽
5/30 01:00 vsイタリア🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/st7uJwrjkx
— サッカー日本代表 (@jfa_samuraiblue) May 14, 2019
FIFA U-20 World Cup History
Japan made their FIFA U-20 World Cup debut as hosts in 1979, with Poland 2019 set to be their tenth appearance in the competition. In their past nine U-20 World Cups, the young Samurai Blue have progressed beyond the group stage seven times, including three last-eight finishes.
Their best performance to date came in 1999 when a team featuring the likes of Shinji Ono (pictured below) and Junichi Inamoto lost in the final to Spain.
Did You Know?
Japan’s biggest FIFA U-20 World Cup win came at the 1997 edition when they beat Costa Rica 6-2.
Photos: Japan Football Association, AFP