On Saturday morning Japan conducted a light training session at Newcastle’s No. 2 Sportsground.
As the team enjoyed a light hearted kick about to get the session underway, cackles of laughter echoed about the sparsely populated ground. Clearly the team had forgotten about their disappointing loss to Brazil in October.
One of those players was Yoshinori Muto. The young striker said, “If I play on Monday, I just want a good result. I’m not so concerned with goals.”
The 22 year old is expected to start off the bench behind Germany based Shinji Okazaki. Pressed on who he had learnt the most from in the camp Muto answered, “Everyone here has high skill levels, so I’ve learnt from everyone.”
Meanwhile, on Sunday Southampton’s Maya Yoshida rocked the AFC boat by suggesting the tournament be staged in the northern hemisphere summer.
Speaking to the Newcastle Herald the defender said, “I know it’s very difficult with TV rights and broadcasts, but I think the best time is the same time as the Euro.”
As defending champions and favourites for the Asian Cup, Japan will have a weight of pressure on them, illustrated by the media throng that tracks the national team’s every move.