Takumi Minamino (25) has only played 49 minutes for Liverpool, but on the Japanese national team he is the big star.
Takumi Minamino has scored half of Japan’s goals in the World Cup qualifiers. On Tuesday, he will lower the Ivory Coast.
Japan – Ivory Coast 2.25 – 3.20 – 2.65 H (stop at 1640)
Private international match. The match will be played at Stadion Galgenwaard in Utrecht. Takumi Minamino has played both of Liverpool’s league cup matches, but Jürgen Klopp has started with him on the bench in all four Premier League matches this season.
Top scorer on the national team
In the series opener against Leeds, the Japanese never came on the field, while against Chelsea he only came in after 86 minutes. He also had little playing time against Arseanl. Then he came on the field in the 90th minute. He had to play the entire second half when Aston Villa shook Liverpool and won 7-2 before the national team break.
Although Minamino has had minimal playing time in the Premier League, he plays big for the Japanese national team.
On the Japanese national team, he has played four matches and scored five goals in World Cup qualification. That is half of Japan’s goals in the qualifiers so far.
Historic national team
The World Cup qualifiers in Asia have been postponed, but Japan will play two friendly matches in Europe. Both matches are played in the Netherlands. They played 0-0 against Cameroon last Friday. It was the first match for The Samurai Blue this year. On Tuesday, Japan will play against Ivory Coast at the Galgenwaard Stadium in Utrecht.
Takumi Minamino and Takefusa Kubo, who are on loan from Real Madrid to Villarreal, are the two biggest stars in the Japanese team, which only consists of players who live in foreign clubs. They have not included players from the J-league since they would have had to be quarantined when they returned to Japan.
According to the Japanese Football Association, this is the first time Japan has fielded a team consisting only of foreign professionals.
It is a very young national team that meets the Ivory Coast. 19-year-old Kubo and 20-year-old Yukinari Sugawara, who plays for AZ Alkmaar, made their debut against Cameroon. In addition to Minamino, they have an exciting player in Kamada from Eintracht Frankfurt.
Friday’s match against Cameroon ended 0-0. Both teams had five shots on goal each.
Ivory Coast, for their part, played 1-1 against Belgium at King Baudouin Stadium on Friday. Crystal Palace striker Michy Batshuayi scored 1-0 for Belgium, while AC Milan’s Franck Kessie equalized on a penalty kick towards the end of the match.
Japan and Ivory Coast have met four times before. They have won two matches each. The last match between the two nations was tough in 2014 At that time, the African team won 2-1 in the group stage of the World Cup.
Exciting offensive in Japan
Ivory Coast will have to do without Club Brugge midfielder Simon Deli and Wuhan Zall winger Jean Evrard Kouassi. Both are out with injuries.
There are several potential debutants in the squad. Vitoria de Guimaraes goalkeeper Nicolas Tie, San Pedro’s goalkeeper Ira Tape Eliezer, Dukla Praha player Mohamed Doumbia, Ghent striker Anderson Niangbo, Mallorca striker Lago Junior and Al-Kuwait midfielder Jumaa Saeed, among others.
Sannsynlig Japan-lag (4-3-3): Daniel Schmidt, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ko Itakura, Maya Yoshida, Yukinari Sugawara, Gaku Shibasaki, Yuta Nakayama, Daichi Kamada, Takefusa Kubo, Yuya Osako, Takumi Minamino
Ivory Coast will probably field this team (4-3-3): Ira Tape Elizier, Serge Aurier, Eric Bailly, Wilfried Kanon, Ghislain Konan, Franck Kessie, Serey Die, Jean-Michael Seri, Nicolas Pepe, Anderson Niangbo, Wilfried Zaha.
Japan has an exciting squad with the talented winger Takefusa Kubo and Liverpool’s Takumi Minamino offensively. Bundesliga players Osako and Kamada are also players who can create problems for the defense of the Ivory Coast.
Bologna defender Takehiro Tomiyasu is also an interesting player. He was relevant for AC Milan in the transfer window. Ivory Coast will be a tough opponent. Japan will compete against Premier League strikers Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. Midfielders Franck Kessie and Jean-Michael Seri will also be important in breaking down the Japanese game and acquiring counterattacks. This will be an even match, but we think Japan will take a narrow victory. We are not surprised if Minamino is the man to score. Japan win gives 2.25 in odds. Play stop is at 16.40.