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Japan national football team

Sport DictionaryWorld Cup 2006 Teams and Players
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Nickname Blues
Association Japan Football Association
Coach Zico (2002-present)
Most caps Masami Ihara (123)
Top scorer Kunishige Kamamoto (73)
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First international
Japan 0 - 5 China
(TokyoJapanMay 91917)
Largest win
Japan 15 - 0 Philippines
(TokyoJapanSeptember 271967)
Worst defeat
Japan 2 - 15 Philippines
(TokyoJapanSeptember 101917)
World Cup
Appearances 3 (First in 1998)
Best result Round 2, 2002
AFC Asian Cup
Appearances 5 (First in 1988)
Best result Winners, 199220002004

The Japan national football team is the national football team of Japan and is controlled by the Japan Football Association. It is currently the highest-ranked Asian (AFC) national team in the official FIFA World Rankings. The team is commonly known by the fans and media as Nihon Daihyo (日本代表 "Japanese representatives"), Daihyo (代表 "representatives") or Zico Japan (ジーコジャパン Jiko Japan?) - the name of the current coach followed by the English "Japan".

After being overshadowed for years by baseball and sumo wrestling, football has been rapidly growing in popularity in Japan in recent years, especially since the launch of the J. League in 1993. Japan narrowly missed a ticket to the 1994 World Cup after failing to beat Iraq in the final match of the qualification round, remembered by fans as the Agony of Doha. The nation's first World Cup appearance was in 1998, where they lost all three matches. Japan's first two fixtures went 1-0 in favor of Argentina and Croatia, despite playing well in both games. Their campaign ended with an unexpected 2-1 defeat to rank outsiders Jamaica.

Four years later, Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea. Despite being held to a 2-2 draw by Belgium in their opening game, the Japanese team advanced to the second round with a 1-0 win over Russia and a 2-0 victory against Tunisia. However, they subsequently exited the tournament during the Round of 16, after losing 1-0 to eventual third-place finishers Turkey.

Japan has had considerably more success in the Asian Cup, taking home the winner's trophy in three of the last four finals. Their principal continental rivals are South Korea, followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia.

On June 82005, Japan qualified for its third consecutive World Cup by beating North Korea 2-0 in Bangkok, Thailand. For the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Japan is in Group F along with AustraliaBrazil, and Croatia.


see 2006 FIFA World Cup...

see World Cup 2006 - Teams...

© This article uses material from Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License


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