In the pursuit of a historic fifth Asian Cup victory, Wataru Endo has been appointed as the captain to steer Japan’s national team through the upcoming tournament. Japan aims to surpass their runner-up status from four years ago, commencing their journey against Vietnam this Sunday.
Discover the challenges awaiting Liverpool midfielder Endo at the 2023 Asian Cup, hosted by defending champions Qatar, in our detailed preview…
Securing a flawless qualification in Group F, Japan dominated with eight consecutive victories against Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Myanmar. Impressively, they netted 46 goals while conceding merely two.
Group Stage Battles
Japan finds themselves in Group D alongside Indonesia and Iraq, with their opening clash against Vietnam set for Sunday, January 14, at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha. The subsequent encounter against Iraq unfolds on Friday, January 19, at Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, followed by the final group fixture against Indonesia on Wednesday, January 24, back at Al Thumama Stadium. All matches are scheduled for an 11:30 am GMT kick-off.
Tournament Format and Key Dates
Featuring 24 teams initially divided into six groups of four, the top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-placed teams, progress to the round of 16. The knockout phase kicks off on January 29, with the semi-finals slated for February 6 and 7. The grand finale will take place at Lusail Stadium, the site of the 2022 men’s World Cup final, on Saturday, February 10.
Asian Cup Legacy
Japan boasts an unparalleled record, having won the Asian Cup four times. Their most recent triumph was in 2011, and despite reaching the final in 2019, they fell short against Qatar. Endo, who played a pivotal role in the 2019 campaign, is determined to secure the coveted title this time.
Expressing his commitment to both Liverpool and the national team, Endo emphasized the importance of his role as captain. He aims for success at the Asian Cup, acknowledging the potential for an extended stay in Qatar. Confident in Liverpool’s abilities in his absence, he expressed his desire to return with the Asian Cup title, believing in both personal and team achievements.