It is time for the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019, and the first match of the last four sees Iran take on Japan for a place in the final.
Both sides have looked impressive defensively, but Iran have looked potent in attack, which Japan have sometimes lacked. But the return of Yuya Osako for Japan and the absence of Mehdi Taremi for Iran could balance things out, so be sure for a classic in this one. Here are both sides and how they could line up.
As mentioned, Yuya Osako is expected to start this game for the Samurai Blue, after coming off the bench against Vietnam.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu speaks about opponents Iran
His return from injury would be a welcome sight considering the two goals he got in their first game. Ritsu Doan in midfield got the winner from the penalty spot last time out, and he could have a crucial role tonight too. Here is how they could take the field:
For Iran, a huge blow was suffered against China PR despite picking up a routine win. Mehdi Taremi picked up a yellow card which means that he isn’t eligible to play in the semi-final for his nation.
Quieroz on privilege to play Japan with Iran ahead of Asian Cup semi-final match
He will almost surely return for the final if Iran win tonight, so all eyes will be on his replacement as Team Melli look to down Japan in a high stakes clash. This is how Carlos Queiroz could set his team out: