The host Japan is eyeing for a medal in this edition after losing in the bronze medal play off in 2012. Repeating their success in 1968 edition when they won bronze seems to be a more realistic target here. However, being seeded in a tough group with France and Mexico does provide a challenge for Hajime Moriyasu’s men to progress to the next stage. In the second match here, The Samurai Blue shall prove their quality when they take on Mexico. A win is a must to advance.
Both teams’ latest news
Japan U-24 under Hajime Moriyasu has included three senior names in the squad, the former Marseille man Hiroki Sakai, Sampdoria centre back Maya Yoshida and VFB Stuttgart midfielder Wataru Endo, plus some notable talents in European league such as Real Madrid youngster Take Kubo, FC Gronigen defender Ko Itakura, Bologna man Takehiro Tomiyasu, PSV Eindhoven forward who spent a year on loan in Arminia Biefield last season, Ritsu Doan and Royal Antwerp midfielder Koji Miyoshi.
Meanwhile, Mexico U-24 manager, Jaime Lozano decides to name three over aged player, Guillermo Ochoa, Henry Martin and Luis Romo. They will be supporting their junior sides led by Real Betis winger Diego Lainez.
Hajime Moriyasu could opt for 4-3-3 with the transition to 4-3-2-1 formation. Ritsu Doan will feature the frontman role supported by Take Kubo who operate on left or right flank as the inverted winger while Daizen Maeda shall be on the other side. Takehiro Tomiyasu and Maya Yoshida shall occupy the back four with Hiroki Sakai on the right and Yuta Nakayama on the left.
Jaime Lozano is likely to employ 4-3-3 formation. Diego Lainez is a definite option for the front three alongside Henry Martin and Guadalajara forward Alexis Vega. In the midfield, Luis Romo could be the anchorman supported by Sebastian Cordova and probably Carlos Rodriguez to keep the balance between defence and offence.
Players to watch
Ritsu Doan is one talented youngster who could turn to a prolific striker in the future, should he overcome the inconsistency while Take Kubo whose flair is quite similar to Leo Messi could be useful in penetrating the flanks. Some other key men to watch are Maya Yoshida and the defensive midfielder Wataru Endo who made 33 appearances last season and contributed three goals and assists each for VfB Stuttgart.
The main man between the sticks, Guillermo Ochoa is a warranty at the backline for a clean sheet. Another key man to watch is certainly Diego Lainez. He could feature as wide attacker on both sides and excels at acceleration and pace.
Japan vs Mexico Prediction
This is a tough call for Japan to seal a win. However, with the talents they have in the squad, Take Kubo and Co have the chance to secure a narrow win here and they are unlikely to play defensively unless for the sake of tactical one. Mexico is surely one difficult opposition here. A win could be decisive for either side here.
Neither side seems to be the favourite here, the home side is projected to win at 6.98. The draw result is at the value of 3.50, which is higher than Jaime Lozano’s men odds to win, which are at 7.05.