Lazio midfielder Daichi Kamada and Freiburg attacker Ritsu Doan were recalled to the Japan squad on Wednesday for their first two Asian second-round qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup.

Manager Hajime Moriyasu named a full-strength side for Japan's Nov. 16 Group B opener against Myanmar at Panasonic Stadium in Osaka and against civil war-hit Syria five days later at Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Japan are 18th in the FIFA rankings while Syria are 92nd, Myanmar 158th and North Korea, who the Samurai Blue will face twice in March in the same group, 115th. The top two teams from each of the nine second-round groups advance to the final Asian qualifying round.

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on Nov. 8, 2023. (Kyodo)

"Second-round qualifiers are not that easy," Moriyasu told a press conference. "We had a big win (10-0) over Myanmar at home during the last qualifiers for Qatar but scored only two goals when we played away."

"There are teams in this group who we could have faced in the final round, and we mustn't forget the mindset of not letting our guard drop as we try to grind out wins."

Kamada and Doan were not picked for Japan's home friendly wins over Canada and Tunisia in October due to conditioning reasons. Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma and Celtic forward Daizen Maeda, who withdrew before the two games, will also be back with the Samurai Blue.

Borussia Monchengladbach defender Ko Itakura, Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate and Reims attacker Keito Nakamura are all out injured.


Japan squad:

Goalkeepers: Daiya Maekawa (Vissel Kobe), Keisuke Osako (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Zion Suzuki (Sint-Truiden)

Defenders: Shogo Taniguchi (Al-Rayyan), Yuta Nakayama (Huddersfield), Koki Machida (Royale Union Saint-Gilloise), Seiya Maikuma (Cerezo Osaka), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal), Hiroki Ito (Stuttgart), Yukinari Sugawara (AZ Alkmaar)

Midfielders/Forwards: Wataru Endo (Liverpool), Junya Ito (Reims), Takuma Asano (Bochum), Takumi Minamino (Monaco), Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda (Celtic), Hidemasa Morita (Sporting Lisbon), Hayao Kawabe (Standard Liege), Daichi Kamada (Lazio), Yuki Soma (Casa Pia), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton), Ritsu Doan (Freiburg), Atsuki Ito (Urawa Reds), Ayase Ueda (Feyenoord), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad)


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