European Headlines

Know what you don't know

Three Japanese players to keep an eye on at the 2022 World Cup

The FIFA World Cup 2022 starts in little more than a fortnight, and Japan has become the first country to announce its official 26-player list for the tournament.

Japan finds itself in Group E, along with Spain, Costa Rica, and Germany. It is one of the tougher groups in the tournament, where every game is bound to be close. It should be noted that Japan finished second in their qualifying group behind Saudi Arabia.

Several experienced players have been selected for the tournament. Eiji Kawashima continues to be an ever-present figure as the first-choice goalkeeper, while defenders like Yuto Nagatomo and Maya Yoshida are also heading to Qatar.

We look at three players that are likely to impress for the Samurai Blue during this tournament.

#1 Takehiro Tomiyasu – Arsenal

Takehiro Tomiyasu
Takehiro Tomiyasu

Takehiro Tomiyasu signed for Arsenal from Bologna in August of 2021 and is a regular for the team at right-back. Only 23 years old, he impressed many last season with his defensive solidity but also with his attacking prowess.


This season, Tomiyasu has made 17 appearances for Arsenal but has found it hard to displace Ben White at right-back.

🗣 “He felt something and we didn’t want to take any risks.”

Mikel Arteta updates on the extent of Tomiyasu’s injury after he was taken off

The defender should start for Japan at the World Cup because he offers a threat as well as being defensively solid.

#2 Daichi Kamada – Eintracht Frankfurt

Daichi Kamada
Daichi Kamada

Daichi Kamada signed for Eintracht Frankfurt in 2017 but was sent out on loan before making his debut in 2019. He is an exciting attacking midfielder but can also play as a forward.

Kamada has made 20 appearances for the German club this season, scoring 12 goals and providing three assists. Frankfurt sits fifth in the Bundesliga and have qualified for the Champions League Round of 16.

38.7% – Daichi Kamada has the best shot conversion rate (38.7%) in all competitions across Europe’s big five leagues (12/31 – min. 30+ shots). Icecold.

via @OptaJiro

View image on Twitter

Kamada is likely to be a starter for Japan because he is one of the side’s key goalscorers. Apart from players like Takumi Minamino, Takefusa Kubo, and Ritsu Doan, he has had the best season so far and is in great form.

Kamada is 26 years old, but this will be his first World Cup and probably not his last. Japan will need him to carry his club form into the tournament to progress past the group stage.

#3 Kaoru Mitoma – Brighton and Hove Albion

Kaoru Mitoma
Kaoru Mitoma

Kaoru Mitoma signed for Brighton & Hove Albion last summer but was loaned out for the season. Since returning to Brighton, he has made nine appearances for the Seagulls this season, assisting one goal.

Mitoma is 25 years old and a talented left winger. He has only made nine appearances for the national team since his debut in 2021 but has five goals to his name.

Japan secure a 2-0 win over the USMNT to kick off the international break 🎯

At the start of the season, Mitoma was used as an impact sub by Graham Potter but he has begun to start games under new manager Roberto De Zerbi. He caused havoc against Chelsea recently, a game which the Seagulls won 4-1.

Whichever role Mitoma features in for his country at the World Cup, his talent is sure to catch the eye of neutrals and fans of all teams.

To read more news, click here.