Japan’s Blue Samurai

Japan will be making their fifth appearance at a FIFA World Cup™. Nicknamed the Blue Samurai, the Far East nation first appeared at the 1998 edition in France. In 2014, the Japanese find themselves in Group C alongside Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast.

This the most successful nation in the history of Asian football.  They hold the record for winning the AFC Asian Cup four times on top of finishing runners-up at the Confederations Cup in 2001.  The Nippons were first recognised in football when they won the Summer Olympics gold medal in 1968 in Mexico.  Their first world cup qualification came in 1998 France after they had narrowly missed the 1994 competition when they lost to Iraq in their final qualifier.

Japan’s most successful showing was reaching the Second Round.  The Blue Samurai first did this on home soil in 2002 before repeating the feat in South Africa in 2010.  On the field the Japanese will call on the experience of Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda of AC Milan.  Japan’s other top players regularly turn out for other well-known European clubs like Stuttgart, Nuremburg, Hertha Berlin and Southampton and will be eyeing to advance from their group for the third time in five World Cups.