Thursday 23 Mar

United Arab Emirates - Japan

22 Mar 2017 Stuart S. INTERNATIONAL: World Cup Qualification, AFC, Round 3, Gr. B
INTERNATIONAL: World Cup Qualification, AFC, Round 3, Gr. B

United Arab Emirates

  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W

vs

Kick-off
15:30 GMT
23 March 2017

Japan

  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Kick-off
15:30 GMT 23 March 2017

The Japanese national team will make the trip to the United Arab Emirates as they look to take another big towards qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Japan look like they will find themselves in Russia next summer if they carry on at the same rate as they currently sit 2nd in the Asian qualifying group B. UAE are 4th in the table but are only 1 point from Saudi Arabia in top spot so a win could see them go top of the group.

STATS

  • In Japan’s 5 qualifying matches so far, they have won 3, drawn 1 and lost 1, a run of form which would see them through. However, their defeat was against the UAE in the first game of the group stage as they lost 2-1 at home.
  • UAE have showed similar form in their 5 games with 3 wins and 2 losses and with a 2-0 win against Iraq in their last game will fill them with confidence going into this one. Their 2 losses were against Saudi Arabia and Australia, both teams who sit above them in the group and one of their wins came in Japan.
  • In their 5 games, Genki Haraguchi has been Japan’s top goal scorer with 4 goals. His deadly streak in front of goal will have to be stopped in the UAE want any chance of coming away with a win in this game as he will take any half-chances he’s presented with.
  • Another player with 4 goals in the group so far is Ahmed Khalil, top scorer for UAE who has led the line for them very well. He scored both goals against Japan in the earlier fixture so the Japanese defence will need to be careful.

HEAD TO HEAD

The 6 meetings between the two nations since 2005 have been extremely even. Both sides have won 2 games each with 2 draws and both teams have scored on 4 of the 6 occasions. In the last fixture, it was UAE who came out on top with a 2-1 away win.

UAE NEWS

After their 3 wins so far in the group, UAE will be quite confident facing a team that they beat not so long ago. But the withdrawal of Amer Abulrahman, one of their best players, won’t make their task of winning the match any easier. They will still be hopeful of beating Japan but a strong defensive performance will be vital if they want to move further up the table.

Latest matches: United Arab Emirates

15.11.2016 Worl United Arab Emirates Iraq 2:0 W
09.11.2016 Int. United Arab Emirates Bahrain 2:0 W
11.10.2016 Worl Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates 3:0 L
06.10.2016 Worl United Arab Emirates Thailand 3:1 W
06.09.2016 Worl United Arab Emirates Australia 0:1 L

JAPAN NEWS

Japan will be looking to get a stronger grip on the group as they will ideally want to be top of the group after these two matches in the international break. They should have a good chance to do this against UAE especially as they look for revenge after their defeat last time around. A fully-available team give them a much better chance of picking up all 3 points.

Latest matches: Japan

15.11.2016 Worl Japan Saudi Arabia 2:1 W
11.11.2016 Int. Japan Oman 4:0 W
11.10.2016 Worl Australia Japan 1:1 D
06.10.2016 Worl Japan Iraq 2:1 W
06.09.2016 Worl Thailand Japan 0:2 W

SUMMING UP!

It’s hard to see past a Japanese win in this match but with the way UAE have played recently combined with the support of their own fans give them a chance of winning the game themselves. They know they can beat the Asian heavyweights and have a decent opportunity to get the 3 points in this fixture. A Japan win is the most likely outcome but a draw or UAE win shouldn’t be ruled out and has every chance of happening.

About the author - Stuart S.

An English freelance sports writer, Stuart has written the Arsenal blog A Cultured Left Foot since 2006, as well as numerous betting previews and articles.

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