Samurai Blue begin final prepping for opening match

Takuya Matsumoto / Yomiuri Shimbun Photographer
Japan’s national team warms up before a closed-door practice Monday in Doha ahead of its World Cup opener against Germany.

DOHA — The Japan national team practiced behind closed doors on Monday as it begins final preparations for its opening World Cup Group E match against four-time champion Germany on Wednesday.

Midfielder Hidemasa Morita, who has been recovering from a left calf injury, participated in a full session the first time since joining the team from Europe, where he plays for Sporting Lisbon.

Japan, which is aiming to advance to the knockout stage for the second consecutive tournament, will face Costa Rica in its second match on Sunday before concluding group play against Spain on Dec. 1.

Wednesday’s match against Germany kicks off at 4 p.m. (10 p.m. Japan time).