Japan-based players head to Doha for World Cup

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Members of the World Cup team get a sendoff from fans at Narita Airport on Wednesday night.

All but one of the seven domestically based members of Japan’s soccer team for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar departed Wednesday night from Narita Airport, bound for Doha with high hopes.

While Urawa Reds defender Hiroki Sakai’s departure has been delayed for one day, the other six arrived at the airport on the official national team bus and were given a sendoff from a group of excited fans.

“We want to show in the best possible way what we’ve put together over the past four years,” said veteran FC Tokyo defender Yuto Nagatomo.

The European-based members of the squad will join the others in Doha as their respective leagues go into the World Cup break.

Japan will face Canada in a warm-up match on Nov. 17 in the United Arab Emirates, its last action before starting group play in the World Cup against Germany on Nov. 23.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Domestically based members of Japan’s World Cup team pose together Wednesday at Narita Airport before departing for Doha.