International Friendly Preview: France - Japan

Mohammed Ali
October 11, 2012
International Friendly Preview: France - Japan




Debuchy, Koscielny, Sakho, Clichy
Sissoko, Capoue, Matuidi
Menez, Giroud, Benzema


Komano, Inoha, Yoshida, Nagatomo
Hasebe, Endo
Inui, Honda, Kagawa

France coach Didier Deschamps has been handed a boost with the news that Laurent Koscielny is fit to face Japan, after the Arsenal defender was involved in a collision with Franck Ribery in training on Wednesday. The center back was forced off with the assistance of two physiotherapists, but received the all-clear on Wednesday evening, welcome news ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Spain on Tuesday.

Les Bleus are already depleted in midfield, and will not include Yohan Cabaye, who is expected sit out with an abdominal complaint, with Toulouse duo Moussa Sissoko and Etienne Capoue set to take to the field alongside Paris Saint-Germain's Blaise Matuidi.

Mathieu Debuchy will replace Christophe Jallet, making his first appearance since suffering injury in the 0-0 draw with Uruguay in August. Up front, Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema will join Jeremy Menez in a three-man attack.

Meanwhile, Japan is without Shinji Okazaki, as well as striker Ryoichi Maeda, who scored in the 1-0 win over Iraq last month in World Cup qualifying.

Alberto Zaccheroni could field Mike Havenaar, who has Dutch heritage, up front, with Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa and CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda also set to feature.

Takashi Inui has enjoyed a good start to the Bundesliga season with Eintracht Frankfurt and will be searching for his fifth cap, while Yasuhito Endo could become the joint-highest record cap holder in Japanese soccer history on Friday.



  • France has won all five of its encounters against Japan.

  • The two sides' last meeting was in the 2003 Confederations Cup, with Robert Pires and Sidney Govou scoring in a 2-1 win for the then European champion.

  • The midfielders who are expected to start for France on Friday have 11 caps between them. A total of 15 of the 23 members of the Japan squad have more.

  • Les Bleus are ranked 13th in the world rankings, two places higher than last month, and leapfrogging Brazil.

  • Neither Japan nor France has lost an international friendly since 2010.

  • The Samurai Blue are ranked 23rd in the world by FIFA, and are the current Asian champions.

  • Midfielder Yasuhito Endo is set to win his 122nd cap on Friday, equaling the record set by Masami Ihara in 1999.

  • Japan's last visit to Paris ended in a 5-0 friendly defeat in 2001.