ASIA: World Cup – Qualification
Date: Friday, 28 May 2021
Kick-off at 12:20 UK/ 12:20 CET
Venue: National Olympic Stadium (Tokyo)
Japan will be looking to secure all three points and progress to the next phase of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers when they host Myanmar on Friday.
The Samurai Blue have won eight of their last nine international matches, while the visitors have been victorious in each of their previous three games in all competitions.
Japan recorded the second-biggest win in their history when they obliterated Mongolia 14-0 in their last World Cup qualifier in March.
Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino opened the scoring in the 13th minute, with the Samurai Blue heading into the break five goals to the good.
The second half then saw a further nine goals, which included four inside just 11 minutes, with Werder Bremen striker Yuya Osako completing his hat-trick and Kyogo Furuhashi, Sho Inagaki and Junya Ito all scoring braces.
Japan were only one goal short from matching their biggest ever victory, which was a 15-0 thrashing of the Philippines back in 1967.
Hajime Moriyasu’s side sit top of Group F with a 100% record from their opening five matches, scoring 27 goals without reply.
Japan – who are the second highest ranked Asian side in the world (26th) behind Iran (21st) – need just one more win to advance to the third round of Asian qualifying, in their quest to reach their seventh World Cup tournament.
After losing their opening three World Cup qualifiers by an aggregate of 10-0, Myanmar have since claimed victories in their last two matches, beating Tajikistan 4-3 and then winning 1-0 against Mongolia.
Their encounter on Friday with Japan, however, will be their first international game in 18 months, after their qualifying campaign was postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Asian Lions currently sit fourth in Group F but are still in with a chance of finishing second and claiming one of the four best-runners up places for the next round.
Myanmar have lost six of their 10 meetings with Japan, including a 2-0 defeat in September 2019, which was their second game of these Asian qualifiers.
German head coach Antoine Hey is hoping he can guide his side to their first ever World Cup tournament, although securing any points on Friday may prove challenging.
- Japan’s form in last 5 matches: WWLWW.
- Myanmar’s form in last 5 matches: WWWLL.
PREDICTION: Home and Over 1.5