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Tomiyasu Journey at 2024 Asian Cup
- Updated: January 12, 2024
Tomiyasu Journey at 2024 Asian Cup
Japan’s Strong Contention and Squad Dynamics Japan enters the competition with an illustrious record, having clinched the Asian Cup four times, with all victories coming since 1992. The Samurai Blue, led by Liverpool’s Wataru Endo, hold the distinction of being the highest-ranked Asian nation (17th in FIFA rankings). Despite not securing an Asian Cup title since 2011, anticipation runs high as they flaunt a squad laden with European talent.
Notable figures like Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton & Hove Albion), Takumi Minamino, and Takefusa Kubo bolster the team’s attacking prowess, while defensive stability is entrusted to Tomiyasu, operating mainly at center-back. The team’s impressive run of nine consecutive victories, including a striking 4-1 win against Germany, underlines their form heading into the tournament.
Competitive Landscape: Other Contenders The Asian Cup promises unpredictability, with the last four editions seeing four different winners. Reigning champions Qatar, hosts for this edition, face expectations despite a recent dip in form. South Korea, led by Son Heung-min, aspires to end a more than 60-year Asian Cup title drought. Saudi Arabia, with star player Salem al-Dawsari and guided by Roberto Mancini, seeks to add an Asian Cup to their recent World Cup exploits.
Iran, the second-highest ranked team, and a rejuvenated Australia also loom as contenders, ensuring a fiercely competitive tournament.
Tournament Format: Road to the Final With 24 nations divided into six groups, the top two from each group progress to the last 16, along with the four best third-placed teams. Japan, placed in Group D alongside Vietnam, Indonesia, and Iraq, eyes a smooth passage to the knockout stages.
The knockout phase follows a traditional pattern, culminating in the final on February 10 at the iconic Lusail Stadium. As the tournament unfolds, football enthusiasts can expect thrilling encounters and dramatic moments.
Tomi’s Role: From Breakthrough to Defensive Pillar Tomiyasu’s journey in the Asian Cup traces back to the 2019 edition, where, as a 20-year-old representing Sint-Truiden, he emerged as a defensive stalwart. Playing in every match, except one, Tomi played a pivotal role in Japan’s run to the final, where they were narrowly defeated by Qatar.
Now boasting 37 caps for his country, Tomiyasu is a cornerstone in Japan’s defense. Operating primarily at center-back, he may be paired with talents like Ko Itakura or Koki Machida. The experienced Shogo Taniguchi remains a viable option, adding depth to the defensive lineup.
Japan’s Opening Fixtures and Tomi’s Schedule Japan embarks on their Asian Cup journey with an opening clash against Vietnam on January 14 in Doha. Subsequent fixtures include a meeting with Iraq on January 19 and a concluding group stage match against Indonesia on January 24. Tomi’s defensive prowess will be on full display as Japan navigates the group stage in pursuit of continental glory.
As the AFC Asian Cup unfolds, all eyes are on Takehiro Tomiyasu, a defensive lynchpin for Japan. Football enthusiasts can follow his journey, from the group stage battles to the crescendo of the final, as he aims to play a defining role in Japan’s quest for the coveted title.
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By- Sahiba Suri