Japan v Qatar – Zayed Sports City Stadium at 14:00 GMT
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup is finally nearing its end and will reach its historic climax on Friday with Qatar set to take on four-time title holders Japan at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Japan’s 3-0 victory against Iran on Monday and Qatar’s 4-0 victory against the United Arab Emirates set up a massive clash between these two sides, who will meet in the title victory decider for the first time in the tournament’s history.
After securing the top spot in the Group F, the four-time winners, who last lifted the trophy in 2011, managed to edge past Saudi Arabia in the 16th round before managing to get another victory against Vietnam. The Samurai Blues will definitely be looking forward to secure a record-extending fifth AFC Asian Cup victory on Friday. Hajime Moriyasu’s men will certainly do everything they can to come out victorious and seal an automatic qualification in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
On the other hand, after cruising past the likes of South Korea, Qatar will likely face Japan in quite a confident mood. The Maroons have been remarkably impressive this campaign since they’re one of the teams that have yet to concede a goal. Apart from this, they were able to provide more defensive resistance than the Japanese who haven’t been quite as impressive offensively during their semi-final victory. However, it should be expected that these two sides will still stick to their respective playing styles.
– Wataru Endo suffered a minor injury against Iran but is expected to play on Friday’s clash.
PROBABLE FORMATION & STARTING XI
Shuichi Gonda, Gotoku Sakai, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo, Ritsu Doan, Gaku Shibasaki, Wataru Endo, Genki Haraguchi, Yuya Osako, Takumi Minamino
Saad Al Sheeb, Ro-Ro, Boualem Khoukhi, Salman, Abdelkarim Hassan, Assim Madibo, Salem Al Hajri, Hassan Al Haidos, Karim Boudiaf, Ali Afif, Almoez Ali
Yuya Osako plays as a forward for Bundesliga side Werder Bremen. He played a very important part during Japan’s 3-0 victory against Iran, scoring two goals in what is quite an excellent performance, thus, securing Japan’s chance in reaching the finals.
Almoez Ali has played remarkably well throughout the campaign, being the top goal scorer in the tournament. He is the first player to notch goals eight times in the competition in at least 23 years. He played a vital part in securing the victory for Qatar during their 4-0 showdown with UAE.
Japan v Qatar: 2-1
Both teams have been defensively superior in comparison to all the teams they face during the course of the tournament. However, there can only be one team to bag the title victory. It is obvious that Japan will enter this match as the favourites to come out as the victors, considering the pedigree they have after winning four times in previous Asian Cup tournaments. However, a side like Qatar shouldn’t be underestimated especially with how far they’ve come in the competition. It goes without saying that Friday’s clash between these will have a lot of thrills in store for fans around the world.
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