By Johnny Edwards: Japan Olympic team head coach, Makoto Teguramori, has named Arsenal's target Takuma Asano in his final 18 man squad for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Completesportsnigeria.
Teguramori also named Red Bull Salzburg midfielder, Takumi Minamino and Young Boys forward Yuya Kubo in his final squad.
He was in a bullish mood as he named his squad at the Japan Football Association’s headquarters, is confident his dynamic side can challenge for a medal in Brazil.
Japan were drawn along with Nigeria, Sweden and Colombia in Group B,and will begin their campaign against Nigeria in the Amazon city of Manaus on August 4th but Teguramori is banking on his team’s unbeaten record in qualifying games to finish in the medal zone.
Japan won bronze at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic and missed out on third place at the London 2012 games to South Korea.
“Before the qualifiers began, I said that if we could win 15 games then we could win the gold medal,” Teguramori told Japan Times.
“We won three straight games in the preliminaries and then six straight games at the Asian Under-23 Championship. If we win six more in Rio then we’ll win the gold medal. I’m looking for a medal at least, but I want to aim as high as possible.”
“I think this is a very balanced group of players who can show what they can do,” said Teguramori, who watched his team beat South Africa 4-1 in a friendly on Wednesday night.
“We have included three overage players but this is largely a group of
players that can be expected to fight for a place at the World Cup in Russia.
“I think we are going to spend long periods defending in this tournament, so I have chosen a lot of defenders and defensive
midfielders. I wanted to have players who are capable of playing across a number of positions at the back.”
Goalkeepers: Masatoshi Kushibiki (Kashima Antlers), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol).
Defenders: Hiroki Fujiharu (Gamba Osaka), Tsukasa Shiotani (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Masashi Kamekawa (Avispa Fukuoka), Sei
Muroya (FC Tokyo), Takuya Iwanami (Vissel Kobe), Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers).
Midfielders: Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale), Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Riki Harakawa (Kawasaki Frontale), Shinya Yajima
(Fagiano Okayama), Shoya Nakajima (FC Tokyo), Takumi Minamino (Red Bull Salzburg), Yosuke Ideguchi (Gamba Osaka).
Forwards: Shinzo Koroki (Urawa Reds), Yuya Kubo (Young Boys), Takuma Asano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima).
Backup players: Daichi Sugimoto (Tokushima Vortis), Shinnosuke Nakatani (Kashiwa Reysol), Gakuto Notsuda (Albirex Niigata),
Musashi Suzuki (Albirex Niigata).