Canada vs. Japan
2013 International Friendly
7pm AST (12pm ET/10am MT), March 22, 2013
Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Ah yes, Japan. The land of the rising sun, and the land that made sushi en vogue. Oh, and they're pretty good at the footy, too -- four Asian Cup titles (including the most recent installment), and they're also a point away from being the first country to qualify for their fifth consecutive World Cup finals. Yes, I can see you rolling your eyes already.
So maybe the Canadian side is mostly the ones based in Europe, and many of them were part of THAT game in Honduras. They're looking for a fresh start in the desert sun of Qatar, and they've picked a pretty tough customer that boasts many domestic players from the J-League, along with some European players that includes the likes of Manchester's finest in Shinji Kagawa. They will be without Keisuke Honda, but they've still got enough firepower to last well beyond the 90.
It's hard to say how the Japanese will approach this game, given that their biggest task lies next week in a match against Jordan to determine if they become the 2nd team (besides Brazil) to punch their ticket to 2014, while Canada only has another friendly on Monday against Belarus before we see them again in the western half of the United States in early July for the CONCACAF Gold Cup -- but still, whatever happens, this game is sure to give the Canadian brain trust (currently led by Tony Fonseca) a lot to think about before the summer.
And hey, could we somehow give Japan's Asian neighbours a shred of hope? As they say, "never say never". So turn on the Sportsnet.ca live feed starting at 12pm ET (9am PT, 10am MT), open up a second tab on your browser, and watch along with us -- the thread is yours! Comment, groan, moan and whatnot...it is open to you!
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Canada XI (from): Borjan, Chencinski, Edgar, Hainault, Jakovic, Straith, de Jong, Morgan, Bekker, Piette, de Guzman, Hutchison, Johnson, Ledgerwood, Pacheco, Nakajima-Farran, Cebara, Edwini-Bonsu, Haber, Jackson, Ricketts
Japan XI (from): Eiji Kawashima, Shusaku Nishikawa, Shuichi Gonda, Yuichi Komano, Yasuyuki Konno, Yuzo Kurihara, Masahiko Inoha, Atsuto Uchida, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, Gotoku Sakai, Yasuhito Endo, Kengo Nakamura, Makoto Hasebe, Hajime Hosogai, Hideto Takahashi, Ryoichi Maeda, Shinji Okazaki, Mike Havenaar, Takashi Inui, Shinji Kagawa, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Yuki Otsu