Japan vs Turkmenistan
Competition: AFC Asian Cup
Date: 9 January 2019
Kick-off: 12:00 CET
No Keisuke Honda, no Makoto Hasebe, no Gotoku Sakai (all three retired from international football right after the World Cup finals), no Shinji Kagawa, no Takashi Inui, no Shinji Okazaki (these three were not called up by national coach Hajime Moriyasu), but still, Japan have one of the strongest rosters in the competition, and are rightfully considered one of the favorites to go all the way, or at least reach the last four. Back in 2015, despite being the reigning champions, they got knock-out in the quarterfinals, losing to the UAE on penalties. Moriyasu took over last August, so he has been in charge for something more than five months. Japan’s results in friendly matches since then have been impressive; comfortable wins over Costa Rica, Panama, 4-3 victory over Uruguay(!), draw with Venezuela back in November (their only “so-so” performance), and last but not least, party against Kyrgyzstan (4-0) in their last match.
Turkmenistan are one of those teams that benefited the most from the AFC Asian Cup expansion. Four years ago, with “only” 16 teams in the finals, they were nowhere to be seen. They had reached the finals back in 2004, but that had been their only previous appearance. Here they are now, hoping to upset the group favorites, Japan, on their debut. An interesting detail about Turkmenistan is that more than half of their 23 players (who make up the roster in this competition), play for the same club, Altyn Asyr. Outside Asia, they are little known, but they did reach the AFC Cup final recently, making their name heard across the continent, at least among those who follow Asian football. Yazguly Hojageldyyev, the coach, is another Altyn Asyr man, albeit a former one, as he’s the manager who led the club to the AFC Cup final.
Previous five matches:
Japan vs Kyrgyzstan 4-0
Japan vs Venezuela 1-1
Japan vs Uruguay 4-3
Japan vs Panama 3-0
Japan vs Costa Rica 3-0
Afghanistan vs Turkmenistan 0-2
Bahrain vs Turkmenistan 4-0
Turkmenistan vs Taiwan 2-1
Turkmenistan vs Singapore 2-1
Singapore vs Turkmenistan 1-1
Japan are facing Oman on Sunday. Same day, Turkmenistan will be playing against Uzbekistan.
Japan vs Turkmenistan: Head to head Stats
This is the first game ever between these two.
Japan vs Turkmenistan: Prediction
The first few days of this tournament have been full-(FULL) of surprises, Turkmenistan’s double chance pays a dreamy 8.00, but I just don’t see them avoid defeat.
Japan vs Turkmenistan: Betting Tips
Japan have been very effective offensively these last months, so I’m counting on them to score a lot in this match. “Japan and over 3.5 goals” is at 1.80.