A friendly encounter between Japan and Panama that shall take place at the Denka Big Swan Stadium in Niigata will see the visitors trying to end a disastrous 5-game losing streak.
After a remarkable performance in the World Cup group stage, where they’ve defeated Colombia and advanced to the knockout stage, the Samurai Blue suffered an unfortunate elimination to Belgium in the round of 16. Akira Nishino who led the Asian side in Russia has decided to step down following Japan’s exit, with Hajime Moriyasu taking his place. The 50-year-old former Japan U23 manager has made a promising debut on the bench, as the 4-time AFC Asian Cup winners outclassed Costa Rica, clinching a comfortable 3-0 win.
On the other hand, Los Canaleros, who secured their first-ever World Cup appearance this year, failed to grab a point in Russia, having lost all three matches, to Belgium, England, and Tunisia. After La Marea Roja finished bottom of the Group G with a -9 goal difference, Gary Stempel was appointed the head coach in favor of Hernan Gomez. However, Stempel’s debut went horribly wrong, as his side suffered a 2-0 defeat to Venezuela in a friendly challenge a month ago, showing no signs of improvement on their previous performance.
Yuto Nagatomo, Yuya Osako, and Maya Yoshida have returned to the national team after skipping a match against Costa Rica. As for the visitors, pretty much the same roster that traveled to Russia is going to land in Niigata.
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