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May 28, 2021 at 11.20am UK
Minamino (8', 66'), Itakura (90+1'), Osako (22', 30' pen., 36', 49', 88'), Morita (57'), Kamada (84')
Endo (68')
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Lam Mang (90')

Preview: Japan vs. Myanmar - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Japan vs. Myanmar - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's World Cup Qualifying - Asia clash between Japan and Myanmar, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Japan will be looking to secure all three points and progress to the next phase of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers when they host Myanmar on Friday.

The Samurai Blue have won eight of their last nine international matches, while the visitors have been victorious in each of their previous three games in all competitions.

Match preview

Japan recorded the second-biggest win in their history when they obliterated Mongolia 14-0 in their last World Cup qualifier in March.

Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino opened the scoring in the 13th minute, with the Samurai Blue heading into the break five goals to the good.

The second half then saw a further nine goals, which included four inside just 11 minutes, with Werder Bremen striker Yuya Osako completing his hat-trick and Kyogo Furuhashi, Sho Inagaki and Junya Ito all scoring braces.

Japan were only one goal short from matching their biggest ever victory, which was a 15-0 thrashing of the Philippines back in 1967.

Hajime Moriyasu's side sit top of Group F with a 100% record from their opening five matches, scoring 27 goals without reply.

Japan – who are the second highest ranked Asian side in the world (26th) behind Iran (21st) – need just one more win to advance to the third round of Asian qualifying, in their quest to reach their seventh World Cup tournament.

After losing their opening three World Cup qualifiers by an aggregate of 10-0, Myanmar have since claimed victories in their last two matches, beating Tajikistan 4-3 and then winning 1-0 against Mongolia.

Their encounter on Friday with Japan, however, will be their first international game in 18 months, after their qualifying campaign was postponed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Asian Lions currently sit fourth in Group F but are still in with a chance of finishing second and claiming one of the four best-runners up places for the next round.

Myanmar have lost six of their 10 meetings with Japan, including a 2-0 defeat in September 2019, which was their second game of these Asian qualifiers.

German head coach Antoine Hey is hoping he can guide his side to their first ever World Cup tournament, although securing any points on Friday may prove challenging.

Japan World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Japan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

Myanmar World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

Myanmar form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Japan boss Moriyasu has used three different goalkeepers in the last four international matches, but with Shuichi Gonda having started the previous two, he could be given the nod on Friday ahead of Eiji Kawashima.

Marseille left-back Yuto Nagatomo and Sampdoria centre-back Maya Yoshida – who have 229 international caps between them – could be joined in defence by Takehiro Tomiyasu and Hiroki Sakai.

Minamino – who is the second-highest goalscorer in the Asian qualifiers with six – is expected to start in an advanced midfield role alongside Genk's Ito and Eintracht Frankfurt's Daichi Kamada, with Osako set to lead the line up front.

As for the visitors, centre-back Zaw Min Tun – Mynamar's most capped player with 75 appearances – is expected to start in the heart of the defence alongside Nyein Chan, who has only four caps to his name.

Central midfielders Hlaing Bo Bo and Myo Ko Tun will likely sit in front of the back four, while Lwin Moe Aung is set to play in the number 10 role in behind striker Kyaw Ko Ko, who has 16 goals for Myanmar in 53 appearances.

Japan possible starting lineup:
Gonda; Sakai, Tomiyasu, Yoshida, Nagatomo; Morita, Endo; Ito, Kamada, Minamino; Osako

Myanmar possible starting lineup:
Htet; Htan, Chan, Min Tun, Lwin; Maung Lwin, Bo Bo, Ko Tun, Naing Oo; Moe Aung; Ko Ko

We say: Japan 4-0 Myanmar

Japan are clearly the strongest side in Group F and although another 14-0 thrashing is unlikely, they should have enough quality to win comfortably on Friday.

Myanmar, who lost their last away match 7-0 to Kyrgyzstan, have shown signs of improvement in their most recent international matches but may still struggle to keep the Smaurai Blue at bay in Chiba.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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