The 2018 World Cup kicks off on June 14 as host Russia takes on Saudi Arabia. CBS Sports will have you covered for each game, all the important news and more, as well as profiles of all of the teams.

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The 2018 World Cup may be the last for some of Japan’s biggest stars who are nearly out of their prime. As a result, they are hungry to get out of the group stage and erase the memories of the 2014 World Cup, where the team could only score twice in 270 minutes, crashing out in the group stage.

Competition history

World Cup appearances: Six
Best finish: Round of 16 (3X)
Last World Cup: 2014


June 19: vs. Colombia at 11 a.m. ET:, stream on fuboTV (Try for free)    
June 24: vs. Senegal at 11 a.m. ET, stream on fuboTV (Try for free)    
June 28: vs. Poland at 10 a.m. ET, stream on fuboTV (Try for free)   



Japan has some sneaky good talent, with Keisuke Hondra the veteran leader. 
Getty Images

Provisional squad (will be trimmed to 23 for the World Cup):  

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz). Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa Reysol).

Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Tomoaki Makino, Wataru Endo (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Gen Shoji, Naomichi Ueda (Kashima Antlers).

Midfielders: Yosuke Ideguchi (Leonesa),  Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi, Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki Frontale), Kento Misao (Kashima Antlers).

Forwards: Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz), Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Takuma Asano (Stuttgart).

Best Player

Shinji Kagawa. The Borussia Dortmund man joins a fine midfield that also features Keisuke Honda and Makoto Hasebe. Kagawa is a magician with the ball at his feet and will be the creator in the middle of the park. He’s somebody who knows what it takes to excel 

Player to watch

Shinji Okazaki. The Leicester City striker has 50 goals for the national team, but his best years are probabably behind him. He’ll still likely start up top though, and he can provide the scoring touch needed to do some damange. He’s a quality player that has the ability to score some marvelous goals.


Japan is in a tough, even group and little chance of moving on. They can, however, get six points from Poland and Senegal if they are sharp, but this team isn’t strong enough to make much noise in the cup. Expect a group stage exit from the Asian squad, but a hot start will give them a chance. 



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