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'
|Andre Gomes can play in Busquets role, insists Luis Enrique|
|Aguero´s dangerous tackle scared me, says Conte|
|Guardiola: We are killing the players|
|Bournemouth announce plans for new stadium|
|Former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid star Ze Roberto to play beyond 43rd birthday|
|Barcelona friendly awaits new Chapecoense coach Mancini|
|Arsenal are privileged to have Sanchez and Ozil - Monreal|
|Watzke denies agreement to discuss Aubameyang transfer with Madrid|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Nice: Champions hunting down shock leaders|
|Giggs tells Rashford how to end his goal drought|
|Manchester United without Shaw, Smalling for Tottenham clash|
|Willems inks PSV renewal|
|Costa and Conte scoop Premier League awards|
|Conte detained on suspicion of assault|
|Strootman ban for derby ´simulation´ overturned|
|Mourinho demands more goals from Rooney|
|Bobo preserves Sydney´s unbeaten start in Cup final rematch|
|Luis Enrique: I don´t dare predict if Messi will renew|
|Mourinho admits changing style for United|
|Sanchez talk is disrespectful, says Conte|
|Sassuolo 0 Genk 2: Visitors seal top spot|
|Sterling back for City as Guardiola predicts tough Leicester test|
|Mourinho still the ´Special One´ for Pochettino|
|Matic return leaves Conte with Fabregas dilemma|
|Guardiola expects greater impact from City youngsters next season|
|Klopp defends Karius after Bournemouth blunder|
|Pirlo visits Chelsea - but Conte is not signing him|
|Ronaldo, Modric rested for Deportivo clash|
|Tuchel hails returning Reus|
|Klopp has ´no idea´ on Sturridge return|
|´My players are intelligent and good people´ - Zidane on Ronaldo´s taxes|
|Atletico to play at ´Wanda Metropolitano´|
|Real Madrid to rest Benzema and start Morata against Deportivo|
|Ancelotti rules out Draxler bid as Bayern prepare for barren transfer window|
|Ighalo calls on Watford to sign Mikel|
|Pardew wants defender and striker to bolster Palace survival push|
|Moyes: M´Vila doesn´t have the fight for Sunderland|
|Leipzig only built to earn Red Bull money - Watzke|
|Shenhua director blasts CSL imports... but desperate for Tevez deal|
|Ribery: Bayern my last club in Europe|
|Hughes targets Arsenal fans to help Stoke end dismal away run|
|83 suspects, 98 clubs ´impacted´ in football abuse probe|
|Fowler pleads with Liverpool to keep ´top quality´ Sturridge|
|Reus ´100 per cent different´ on comeback|
|Ibrahimovic ´super happy´ for rejuvenated Mkhitaryan|
|Vertonghen: Football needs Mourinho|
|Title triumph went to Leicester´s heads, admits Ranieri|
|Conceicao named new Nantes coach|
|LaLiga lead means nothing - Zidane|
|Chapecoense add two stars to badge in wake of air disaster|
|Blatter accuses Infantino of lack of respect|
|Austin injury compounds Puel´s misery|
|Gestifute publishes further evidence of ´Ronaldo tax compliance´|
|Pioli eyes further Inter improvement|
|´I feel s***´ - Van Dijk blasts Southampton after Europa League collapse|
|Mourinho marvels at Mkhitaryan mentality after Zorya stunner|
|Southampton 1 Hapoel Be´er Sheva 1: Late Van Dijk leveller not enough as visitors progress|
|Inter 2 Sparta Prague 1: Eder double sends hosts out on a high|
|Vieira wanted Arsenal coaching opportunity|
|Vieira hopes MLS experience puts him in frame to replace Guardiola|
|Mkhitaryan: I waited a long time for this|
|Zorya 0 Manchester United 2: Mkhitaryan magic sends Mourinho´s men through|
|Ranieri urges Leicester players to fight for their futures|
|Cellino banned for 18 months over McCormack transfer|
|Koeman demands reaction from dropped Barkley|
|Tevez unsure on Boca future amid China speculation|
|Bradley vows to fight for his job at Swansea|
|Koeman speaks out on Depay, Schneiderlin links|
|Wenger unconvinced by World Cup expansion plans|
|Kovac brothers sign new Frankfurt deals|
|Selling Sturridge would be a mistake, says Rush|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Besiktas, Dynamo Kiev|
|Filipe Luis suffers thigh tear|
|Kashima Antlers 2 Auckland City 1: Late Kanazaki header the difference|
|Suarez´s Barca renewal already done, says Bartomeu|
|Barcelona invite Chapecoense for Joan Gamper Trophy|
|Arsenal would have a chance against Real Madrid, insists Wenger|
|FIFA chief Infantino calls for zero tolerance on child abuse|
|Sanchez will not leave Arsenal for China - Wenger|
|Dybala delighted with Juventus return|
|Rashford desperate to learn from Ibrahimovic|
|Weigl not ready for Real Madrid - Tuchel|
|Why Zidane must drop Ronaldo at the Club World Cup|
|Barton: They built me up into a Neymar-Messi type|
|Shakhtar aware of Barca interest in Srna - Fonseca|
|Mets hitting coach believes Tebow can make it to MLB|
|Aubameyang reiterates Madrid dream after Bernabeu show|
|Zidane praises Benzema after 50th Champions League goal|
|Aubameyang deserves 99 per cent of credit - Reus|
|Neymar: There´s only one Ballon d´Or winner and it´s Messi, not Ronaldo|
|Magiera hails Legia victory as for ´all of Poland´|
|Tuchel thought Aubameyang had blown chance to equalise|
|Pochettino confident Spurs are back on track|
|Santo hails Porto´s mature performance|
|Lyon proved we can compete with Europe´s best - Genesio|
|Slutsky unsurprised by apparent Premier League interest in Dzagoev|
|Jardim frustrated as Monaco finally lose|