Last week, the Myanmar national football team lost to Mongolia in the opening match of Group F qualification round at the Mongolian Football Federation Football Stadium in Ulanbaatar.
“We played very well against Mongolia but unfortunately we were unlucky,” Myanmar head coach Mirodrag Radulovic said in press conference at Inya lake Hotel in Yangon on Monday. “We had much of the possession, chances and shots.
Tactically, my team managed the match very well and we will be trying to show the best performance against Japan on Tuesday,”
This will be the first match Japan’s national team will play in their bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
Hajime Moriyasu, Japan national football team head coach, expects the Myanmar team to put up a strong fight.
“This match will be tough for us. Myanmar will be a tough opponent because Myanmar is growing in Asia and played very well against Mongolia. Anything can happen in football,” he said.
The Japanese team includes Europe-based star players such as goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima of Strasbourg in France and Turkish club Galatasaray’s defender Yuto Nagatomo.
Among the Japanese team’s many foreign-based players are defender Maya Yoshida who plays for the EPL club Southampton, defender Hiroki Sakai of Marseille in France, midfielder Genki Haraguchi of German club Hannover 96, Ritsu Doan of Netherlands club PSV Eindhoven, midfielder Shoya Nakajima of Portuguese club Porto, Takefusa Kubo of Spain’s Real Madrid , and Yuya Osako of Werder Bremen in Germany.
“Japan is very big challenge for my players. They have many talented players and Europe-based young players. Our players will learn from Japan team. We will try our best and show our best performance in this match,” Radulovic said.
But Moriyasu will not be taking any chances.
“Anything can happen in during the match. This is an away match for us and it will be difficult. But we will try to play well and I believe my players will give their best during the match,” he said.
Aside from Myanmar and Japan, other countries in Group F are Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan. The second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers also serves as the second round of 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification.