Frustration fuels Japan ahead of North Korea World Cup qualifiers

Frustration fuels Japan ahead of North Korea World Cup qualifiers

Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu spoke at a press conference ahead of their World Cup qualifier against North Korea. He expressed that the team is motivated by the frustration of their recent Asian Cup exit where they lost to Iran in the quarter-finals. Despite being favorites, Japan had a lackluster performance in the tournament and faced off-field issues with winger Junya Ito being accused of sexual assault.

Ito, who denies the allegations, will not be part of the squad for the upcoming matches. Moriyasu acknowledged the disappointment felt by the players after the Asian Cup and emphasized that it has fueled their determination to do better. Japan already has a strong position in the World Cup qualifying after wins against Myanmar and Syria, but injuries to key players like Kaoru Mitoma and Takehiro Tomiyasu will be a setback.

Looking ahead to the matches against North Korea, Moriyasu expects tough tests from a competent and spirited opponent. North Korea’s coach, Sin Yong Nam, echoed this sentiment, recognizing Japan as a strong team. While he did not elaborate on their preparations, Sin promised a “very fierce battle” and encouraged fans to watch their performance on the field. North Korea currently sits second in the group standings behind Japan, and both teams are aiming to secure a spot in the next stage of qualifying.

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