World Cup Preview: Tunisia V Japan
Tunisia - Japan | News Archive
Tunisia's well deserved point against Belgium has kept their World Cup alive going into the final match of Group H against co-hosts Japan. Even the most ardent of fans of the North African Nation would probably have assumed their World Cup would have been over by the time they faced Japan after a nightmare year full of disappointment and upheaval. However, Tunisia have impressed considerably and really deserve more than the one point they have to show for their troubles.
Tunisia must beat Japan to stand any chance of qualifying, and if the other game in the Group, Russia Vs. Belgium, is drawn qualification will come down to goal difference. The sheer fact that Tunisia can contemplate qualifying is a remarkable achievement for a nation that had been written off by their press, former players and manager. A failed drug test, the shock resignation of their captain and inspirational goalkeeper added with a poor run of form gave Tunisia little hope of making an impact in the Far East. However, they have shown confidence and one or two stars may even be emerging from a team of no-hoppers.
Japan have a fantastically passionate support behind them and not only that they have a huge amount of commitment and talent to boot. The majority of the footballing World wouldn't have given Japan much of a chance to succeed at this World Cup, but they have a great chance to win their group and then who knows how far they can go?
They opened their campaign with their first point at a World Cup with a 2-2 draw with Belgium, during which they were robbed a winner from Inamoto in the last few minutes. They followed that with their first ever win, a 1-0 victory against Russia that sparked delirium on the streets of Japan. At least a point against Tunisia will seal their passage in the last 16 and prevent them from becoming the first home nation to be eliminated in the first round. A victory will ensure that they can't face on-fire Brazil in the second round, but a tie with Turkey would beckon.
Tunisia - To Follow
Japan's boss Philippe Troussier has reported that all of his players are "100% fit" for their showdown with Tunisia.
Tunisia - Slim Benachour: Tunisia's youngest player has shot to fame on the basis of his two performances at this World Cup and has been linked with a move to England as a result, although his dream move to Manchester United may be a little optimistic. Benachour is diminutive, but extremely nifty on the ball and more than capable of unlocking defences with his tricks and turns.
Japan - Juninchi Inamoto: The midfielder is one of the stars of the tournament so far. It appears he was signed by Arsenal last year purely to bring in money from merchandising, as the Gunners had little or no intention of actually playing him in the Premiership last season. However, they may now be realising that they had a supremely talented player on their hands, the only problem is that he looks set to be released from Highbury.
WHO IS NOT
Tunisia - Ali Boumnijel: The inexperienced goalkeeper was at fault for Russia's opener in their first match and he didn't fill me with any more confidence against Belgium.
Japan - Shinji Ono: The Feyenoord midfielder is one of the so-called stars of Japan's team. However, he has been largely ineffective and was substituted in both of their matches. Prior to the World Cup there were suggestions that he was struggling with fitness and that may be the cause.
Japan have met Tunisia once before, in a friendly six years ago, and were 1-0 winners.
if Japan finishs top of this group they face Turkey, so they have a chance of making it through to the quater-finals
if they finish runner-up, they face Brazil and will have no or little chance
i really hope Japan finishes top of group, only problem is, if they do, they'll play against Turkey on Tuesday, the same day i'll be having a Physics Exam:depress:
Japan are in with a chance of making the semi finals believe it or not. If they beat Turkey, they will have to play Sweden or Senegal in the quarter finals, teams which they are capable of beating with the home crowd support, but they must focus on Turkey first.