Delight for Celtic stars as Japan confirm World Cup 2022 place

By Euan Davidson

March 24, 2022

Great news for the Japanese contingent at Celtic: Japan have qualified for World Cup 2022.

It took two very, very late goals from Koaru Mitoma to see Australia into a play-off, with Hajime Moriyasu’s side left ecstatic [Guardian]. It’ll be the 7th consecutive World Cup for the Japan national team, who’ve been perennial qualifiers since the 90s.

Reo Hatate was on the bench for Japan, while Daizen Maeda had been called up, but missed the game owing to a fitness issue. Kyogo Furuhashi has been in recent squads, but of course missed out this one through injury.

Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Yosuke Ideguchi, with 15 Japan caps, could easily play his way back into the thoughts of Moriyasu. The former Leeds man has had a slow start to life at Celtic, due to injury. A more influential role with Celtic, however, would surely bolster his chances.

It means that, theoretically, at least 4 Celtic players are going to the World Cup, at the time of writing. Josip Juranovic’s Croatia have qualified for the controversial Qatar tournament.

For Rogic and Australia, the hard work continues. Like Scotland, there’ll be a play-off to determine whether or not they make the winter tournament. Manager Graham Arnold said he’s capable of taking the Socceroos to November’s tournament [Guardian]: “I’ve always said that. I believe in these boys.

“It is one game at a time and one camp at the time and we will see what happens.”

67 Hail Hail meets Anthony Ralston and Caitlin Hayes | Celtic Park Special

67 Hail Hail meets Anthony Ralston and Caitlin Hayes | Celtic Park Special
67 Hail Hail (Youtube)

Delight for Celtic’s Japanese contingent; and in Japan, Celtic supporters have all the more reason to watch the World Cup 2022

It’s always amazing fun seeing Celtic players get to the World Cup. It just is. Especially if you’re Scottish, and haven’t had much else to look for in recent decades.

Japan are typically great fun to watch at the World Cup. Players like Hidetoshi Nakata and Keisuke Honda have grabbed headlines at tournaments, while the current crop of Japan internationals are – as Celtic fans well know – electrifying in their own right.

Whether Moriyasu utilises the pace of players like Kubo, our own Maeda and Kyogo, is yet to be seen.

Photo by Kaz Photography/Getty Images

But there’s enough to believe that we could see 3 Celtic stars line up for the Samurai Blue if everyone’s fit. That’s going to be quite surreal, but extremely enjoyable.

For Celtic fans, international intrigue doesn’t end there. Scotland face Poland tonight, while Carl Starfelt’s Sweden do battle with the Czech Republic at the same kick-off time of 7.45.

Fine; the Hoops aren’t in action. But as proven by this Japan result, there’s still plenty to get excited about.

Read more: Confirmed: Scott Robertson back at Celtic to continue injury rehab