Japan midfielder Gaku Shibasaki has said that the Samurai Blue needs to be 100 per cent prepared as they take on Qatar in the final of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on Friday.
Japan defeated IR Iran 3-0 while Qatar thrashed hosts United Arab Emirates 4-0 in their respective semifinal to set up the clash at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on February 1.
And the Getafe midfilder has said that Japan will have to be at the top of their game if they are to realise their dream of taking home the Asian Cup trophy for a record fifth time.
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“From before the tournament we were saying that our ultimate aim was to make it to the final and take the trophy home, and now we have earned the privilege to be standing where we are,” the 26-year-old said.
“However, if we lose the next game then all of this means nothing, so we have to make sure we prepare properly,” said Shibasaki.
“We’ve come so far to the final and cannot allow ourselves to play a game that lacks concentration. In the final I want to play a good game, just like we did in the semifinal,” he added.
Japan might have won the title four times previously, but Shibasaki still believes winning the 2019 edition will be a huge boost for Japan who have been rebuilding under new coach Hajime Moriyasu.
“Getting our hands on the title would give this team with a lot of young players a great deal of confidence. If we can win the trophy it would create a new page in the history of Japanese football, so our mission and the responsibility on our shoulders is huge,” the former Kashima Antlers star said.