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Strange things about Japan’s U23s in Asia

03 Jun 2022 | 15:58 | News

Of the 16 teams competing in the Asian U23 Championships, none of the group is as young as Japan’s U23s. The Sunland team has no players born before January 1, 2001. The composition of Japan’s U23 includes 4 21-year-old players, 13 20-year-old players, 5 19-year-old players and a 17-year-old rookie.

Only the home team Uzbekistan has such a lineup in Japan. However, Uzbekistan has eight 21-year-old players in the U23, which is definitely older than Japan.

Leo Brian Kokubo is a factor to watch for the Japan U23s. Photo: JPA.

Japan also brought a relatively young squad to the 2020 AFC U23 Championship. However, this is also when Japan’s U23s are bottom of the table against Saudi Arabia, Syria and Qatar. AFC U23 Championship 2020, Japan U23 did not win any games after losing 2 games last draw.

The Japanese U23 team participating in the AFC U23 Championship this time includes Nigerian goalkeeper Leo Kokubo, who is 1.91 meters tall, and striker Saito Yukiki, who plays in Belgium.

Japan’s U23s are in Group D with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Tajikistan. The teachers and students of Coach Go Oiwa will play against the UAE on June 3 (Hanoi time) at 8pm. In the history of participating in the AFC U23 Championships, Japan’s U23’s best result was the 2016 championship. Japan’s U23’s Nakajima Zhuang was also named “the best player of the tournament”.

Takumi Minamino, Shibu Endo and Takuma Asana are players who participated in the 2016 AFC U23 Championship and play an important role in the current Japanese team.

Coach Gong Wujun: “Mr. Park trusted me, so he chose me” The new U23 Vietnam head coach Gong Wujun is determined to lead the Vietnam U23 team far ahead in the 2022 AFC U23 Championships to replicate the achievements of Coach Park Hengrui in the 2018 tournament.

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