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By Jacob Howard

Team: Japan

Nickname: Samurai Blue

World Cup appearances: 5

World Cup ranking: 61

Coach: Akira Nishino

Captain: Makoto Hasebe

Player to watch: Keisuke Honda
Japan’s biggest attacking threat, particularly with his set-piece prowess. In the Russia 2018 squad, he is the leading scorer for Japan with 36 goals. Now plays his club football in Mexico but has played with high profile clubs CSKA Moscow and Milan. This will be his third World Cup.

NowUC predictor:
Although Japan have tournament experience, they will be lucky to get out of the group stage where they come up against Poland (ranked 8) and Colombia (ranked 16).

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