World Cup starts from now, Japan's Asano says

December 4, 2022 6:44 am

Japan have already scripted one of the best stories of the World Cup with comeback victories over former champions Germany and Spain but Takuma Asano says they have not achieved anything yet.

Winger Asano scored a brilliant winner in the Germany win that kickstarted Japan’s campaign but that was followed by a shock reverse at the hands of Costa Rica in their second group game.

Another upset against Spain, however, sent Japan into the last 16 as group winners and set up a date with 2018 losing finalists Croatia at Al Janoub Stadium on Monday.

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Attacking midfielder Daichi Kamada started all three group games and believes progressing despite having been drawn in a so-called “Group of Death” had given the players confidence they can take on and beat Europe’s best.

Monday will be Japan’s fourth last 16 clash at the World Cup finals but they have never yet been past the opening round of the knockout stage.

Asano said improving that record was not the full extent of their ambitions.