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The FC Tokyo and Japan striker feels the experience of the match at Education City Stadium was helpful for Qatar 2022 …
Japan’s Kensuke Nagai believes that the experience of playing the 2020 AFC Champions League at the Education City Stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will allow him to pass on valuable local intelligence to his predominantly European Samurai Blue teammates.
Nagai has made 10 international appearances. Importantly, three of them have reached the second round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where Hajime Moriyasu’s team sits comfortably as the leader of Group F having secured the maximum of 12 points in four games. . The 31-year-old has also been on the scoresheet once during all three games.
Japan, which is the highest-ranked team in Asia, had reached the knockout stages at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and were leading Belgium 2-0 with just over 20 minutes to go. But they were unable to capitalize on the advantage as they conceded three goals to crash in what was widely recognized as one of the best matches of the tournament.
With the Asian continent hosting the 2022 edition of the World Cup, the ‘Samurai Blue’ will look forward to deepening the tournament by drawing on performances from the brilliant range of the young generation of European-based attacking talent at their disposal. .
Liverpool FC’s Takumi Minamino has already scored five goals in four qualifying rounds for the 2022 World Cup. His supporting cast comprised of Real Madrid loan, ‘wunderkind’ Takefusa Kubo, Porto’s Shoya Nakajima and Porto’s Takuma Asano Eintracht Frankfurt’s Partizan Belgrade and Daichi Kamada have been too difficult to handle for the weaker opponents in the group.
From the friendlies that have been played since the resumption of football after the outbreak of COVID, there is enough indication that Moriyasu’s team could be a formidable force for the toughest defensive teams in Asia, as well as those that will face in Qatar in 2022 yes Japan. He secured his place at his seventh consecutive FIFA World Cup since France 1998.
Addressing the media ahead of his club’s East Zone quarter-final match against Beijing Guoan on Sunday, Nagai emphasized that playing at a 2022 FIFA World Cup venue during the current Champions League in AFC 2020 has endowed you with a rich repository of experiences that will be carried into 2022 and potentially shared. with his talented teammates.
“The games I have played at the 2022 World Cup stadium [Education City Stadium] they have given me a unique experience. I hope I can continue to play well in the World Cup qualifiers and be selected to the national team in 2022. If so, I will definitely pass my ideas on to my teammates, “said Nagai, who played in the first three all four games. of their team’s group stage, all in the same stadium and scoring in one.
It should be noted that many members of Japan’s current golden generation, including Minamino, Nakajima, Asano, and defensive players Wataru Endo and Naomichi Ueda, first entered the continental spotlight by winning the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship. in Qatar.
However, that tournament was held when the three fully-fledged 2022 FIFA World Cup venues, which now host the 2020 AFC Champions League, were still under construction.
The Education City Stadium, called ‘Diamond in the Desert’ due to its design, was formally inaugurated by the Supreme Committee on Delivery and Inheritance (SC) in June 2020 through a virtual ceremony dedicated to the country’s health professionals and front-line workers.
The 40,000-seat venue, which will host matches through the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals, had hosted its first match, a Qatar Stars League (QSL) game, on September 3.
The stadium was then used, along with the other two fully-completed 2022 venues, Khalifa International Stadium and Al Janoub Stadium, during the 2020 AFC Champions League, with Qatar hosting the West Zone stages and the East Zone in centralized formats instead of the traditional house and … far one.