Hajime Moriyasu is now the man in charge of the Japanese national side and he has enjoyed a decent start to life in his new role, however can the manager continue this good work when his new charges face Central American opposition on Friday? The 50-year-old was appointed as head coach following the departure of Akira Nishino after the World Cup and he will face his first real test in the Asian Cup in the UAE next January, however with no shortage of talent in the ranks, Japan will be confident of building the momentum ahead of this competition when they line-up against Panama this week.
Moriyasu’s debut with Japan was delayed due to the recent earthquake with this prompting the cancellation of the scheduled friendly with Chile, however he got things off to a fine start with his side beating Costa Rica 3-0, goals coming from Junya Ito, Takumi Minamino and Sho Sasaki. We don’t envisage the hosts having too many problems coping with whatever Panama can throw at them, the bookmakers giving away free bets on Japan v Panama.
Next in Japan’s sights are Panama, the Central Americans one of the worst performers at the 2018 World Cup with some dismal results of which the most outstanding was the 6-1 thumping by eventual semi-finalists England. Since the tournament they have dispensed with the services of manager Hernan Dario Gomez and have appointed Gary Stempel in a temporary capacity. The Canal Men followed their disappointing World Cup campaign with a 2-0 defeat at home to Venezuela and we envisage another defeat coming their way on Friday when they face Japan in what has all the makings of a thoroughly one-sided exchange, Ladbrokes Bookmakers going 27/10 on Japan to win-to-nil.