Japan head coach Alberto Zaccheroni will be concerned about his team’s defensive frailty ahead of their East Asian Cup clash against Australia.
Zaccheroni’s side drew 3-3 with China in their East Asian Cup opener on Sunday, making it 12 goals conceded by Japan in their past four games.
The Japanese threw away a two-goal lead in the last 10 minutes with Wang Yongpo and Sun Ke scoring late goals for China in a dramatic finale.
Japan went behind early on Sunday through a penalty from Wang and while goals from Yuzo Kurihara, Yoichiro Kakitani and Masato Kudo looked to have put Zaccheroni's team on track for victory, China hit back.
Wang scored another penalty in the 81st minute and Sun Ke slotted the equaliser six minutes later to secure a point, which has kept the East Asian Cup all square heading into the second round of games.
While Zaccheroni’s young side will be favourites to maul Australia in Hwaseong on Thursday, if they continue their poor defensive record, the Socceroos will fancy their chances of sneaking a win just as they threatened to in a World Cup qualifier at the start of last month.
Socceroos head coach Holger Osieck must restructure his midfield if Australia is to take advantage of Japan’s issues, however, after his team barely touched the ball throughout their 0-0 draw with hosts South Korea on Saturday.
Australia only escaped with a point due to a phenomenal performance from goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic.
The Adelaide United goalkeeper made a string of impressive saves to keep a clean sheet in Seoul but Osieck will undoubtedly have been disappointed in the failure of his midfielders, Mark Milligan, Dario Vidosic and Ruben Zadkovich, plus substitute Erik Paartalu, to control possession at any point against the South Koreans.
Osieck's decision to play Zadkovich for the entire 90 minutes was hard to fathom due to the Newcastle Jets captain's poor passing. On Saturday, Zadkovich regularly just thumped the ball long rather than trying to pick out a team-mate and Osieck has a number of options who could replace the 27-year-old.
Matt McKay, one of the few experienced players in Australia's squad, could be shifted centrally after struggling to get involved as a left-winger versus South Korea, while Aaron Mooy deserves a chance after a strong campaign with A-League premiers Western Sydney Wanderers last season.
Osieck may also be tempted to play Archie Thompson as the central striker against Japan as the Melbourne Victory veteran seemed almost stranded on the right wing in the Socceroos East Asian Cup opener. If Thompson does play down the middle and McKay is picked in central midfield, Mitch Nichols, Craig Goodwin, Adam Taggart and Connor Pain could all play a role out wide.
|Y. Ōsako||55' 56' 79'|
|Coach: A. Zaccheroni|
for T. Ohgihara 61'
for M. Saito 73'
for K. Chiba 81'
|´Conte can have our title´ - Ranieri wants Chelsea to win the Premier League|
|Tottenham reject Premier League, Bundesliga offers for Wimmer|
|Liverpool sell Ilori to Reading|
|Potential victims in football abuse probe surpasses 500|
|Bonaventura signs new AC Milan contract|
|Messi: Ronaldo has achieved great things|
|Koscielny: Wenger has built men at Arsenal|
|Messi vows to stay at Barcelona ´for as long as they want me´|
|Cafu adamant Neymar will become world´s best|
|I´m just taking a sabbatical - Van Gaal denies he´s retired|
|Not even Gerrard won Premier League - Buttner says he´s not a United flop|
|Samper ignored Wenger as Barca midfielder rejected Arsenal|
|Pleased Pioli wants more from Inter|
|Evergrande boss Scolari dismisses Turan links|
|Klopp seeks legal advice over Matip|
|Marseille complete Sanson move|
|Inter 3 Bologna 2: Candreva prevents remarkable turnaround in Coppa Italia thriller|
|FA Cup Review: Non-league Lincoln stun Ipswich, Burnley and Palace through|
|Gabon v Burkina Faso: Aubameyang says hosts have learned from Guinea-Bissau setback|
|Mali 0 Egypt 0: El-Hadary makes history in stalemate|
|El-Hadary oldest AFCON player ever - 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper makes history|
|Reus and Gotze on target but Bender injured in Dortmund win|
|Toure shunning lavish China interest to stay at City, says Seluk|
|Rahman´s AFCON in the balance, says Ghana boss Grant|
|Just 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets - How Vertonghen blow could impact Tottenham|
|Ghana 1 Uganda 0: Andre Ayew hands Black Stars nervy victory|
|Swansea snap up Carroll and Olsson in double swoop|
|All is forgiven? - Costa trains with full Chelsea squad after reported Conte bust-up|
|I would throw myself off a bridge for Luis Enrique - Rakitic dismisses Barca rift rumours|
|Was Juventus´ new logo inspired by tennis star?|
|Smooth sailing for Liverpool in Plymouth? Klopp expects tough test|
|Demichelis re-joins Malaga until end of season|
|Cameroon v Guinea-Bissau: Broos urges new heroes to emerge|
|Boxing champ hits Carragher with Chinese Super League comeback prank|
|Zidane backs Navas and defends Benzema as Madrid aim to bounce back|
|Deportivo bring in Kakuta from Hebei after CSL rule changes|
|Matip could miss eight games without doing anything wrong - Klopp|
|United trigger Valencia´s contract extension|
|Ronaldo returns to Real Madrid´s Copa squad|
|FA fine Sagna for Instagram post|
|Nedved does not foresee more January business for Juventus|
|Rafinha injury blow for Barcelona|
|Villas-Boas fumes at CSL foreign player crackdown|
|Ibrahimovic invaluable to Manchester United youngsters - Rashford|
|Robben rejected China move|
|A-League review: Phoenix rise to the occasion to end Victory´s streak|
|Van Gaal slams English media over treatment at Manchester United|
|Mignolet: Liverpool in better position to win title than in 2013-14|
|Giroud wants Premier League title but understands China temptations|
|Tianjin forced to scrap moves for Costa, Benzema, Cavani and Falcao|
|My goal was better than Mkhitaryan´s - Giroud|
|Pochettino not interested in Argentina job|
|Kane: Tottenham can win Premier League|
|Corinthians dreaming of Drogba - Paulo Roberto|
|Coutinho calls for Liverpool focus|
|Chiellini compares Pogba to LeBron and Bolt|
|Maradona to become Napoli ambassador|
|Mihajlovic furious after Torino collapse|
|Icardi has offers from China - Wanda Nara|
|Pogba can cope with pressure - Ibrahimovic|
|´My half-time words will stay in the dressing room´ - Montella annoyed with AC Milan|
|Juventus unveil dramatic change to club logo - but not everyone´s a fan|
|´I do not think I will return to coaching´ - Van Gaal set to call it quits|
|Torino 2 AC Milan 2: Bacca caps thrilling comeback as hosts pay the penalty|
|DR Congo 1 Morocco 0: Kabananga pounces on blunder to give 10 men the points|
|´Happy and comfortable´ Sanchez dismisses Arsenal exit talk|
|How much?! West Ham flop Simone Zaza could cost Valencia €20m|
|Mali v Egypt: Salah leads Pharaohs´ bid for AFCON glory|
|Sevilla concede they ´cannot force´ sporting director Monchi to stay|
|Ivory Coast 0 Togo 0: Reigning champions held to opening draw by Adebayor and co.|
|Goalkeeping woes, Stones and tactical confusion - How Guardiola is making life difficult for himself|
|Ozil and Sanchez can be persuaded to stay - Cech|
|Pogba: I rejected Barcelona and Real Madrid|
|Ghana v Uganda: Gyan dreams of first trophy since 1982|
|Chiellini: Juventus a work in progress|
|Robben agrees Bayern renewal until 2018|
|Hazard: Goals do not matter to me|
|Bennell pleads not guilty to eight child sex offences|
|Muller fed up with debate over Bayern role|
|Wenger glad Sanchez is not ´a Costa problem´|
|Flick resigns as DFB´s sporting director|
|Gomis ´can´t wait´ to welcome Payet to Marseille|
|Chinese FA changes foreign player rules after ´irrational´ spending|
|Like father, like son: Justin Kluivert follows in dad´s footsteps|
|´No reason to lose him´ - Marotta rubbishes talk of Allegri exit|
|Courtois: We don´t need Costa|
|Kane: Tottenham players won´t go to China|
|Noble ´angry and disappointed´ with Payet|
|Klopp furious over Matip uncertainty|
|Wenger surprised by tight Premier League|
|´Money is not everything´ - Conte issues warning amid China speculation|
|Fiorentina defeat a ´bad setback´ - Allegri|
|´This will elevate this group of players´ - Sampaoli revels in Sevilla late show|