Foreign media tip Celtic star to be the difference against ex-World Cup winners
Japanese media outlet Sportiva have tipped Celtic attacker Daizen Maeda to be the difference for Japan against Germany.
Hajime Moriyasu and his squad kick off their campaign in Qatar later on this afternoon as Japan attempt to create a shock in Group E.
Despite hopes of an international call-up for Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate, Maeda is the only Celtic representative who will be turning out for the Samurai Blues.
Ahead of the World Cup campaign getting underway, there has been much discussion surrounding the role that the Hoops forward might play at the tournament.
Japan face an extremely difficult task out in Qatar as they take on two previous winners of the competition in Germany and Spain.
In between those two matches, they will also take on South American side Costa Rica, who have shown their credentials at the World Cup in previous tournaments.
Maeda is expected to take his place in the starting line-up for his nation this afternoon as they aim to produce another shock result against the 2014 winners.
The 24-year-old possesses plenty of pace and pressing ability, as Celtic fans are well aware. So, he will be looking to utilise that against the world-class German backline.
Should Japan hope to get anything out of this game, Maeda is likely to be key in doing so, and Japanese media outlet Sportiva picked him out as the man who could be the difference maker for Japan.
Sportiva tips Maeda to be the key man who can break down Germany defence.
With Maeda expected to lead the line for Japan, he is bound to be in for a lot of hard work. But that is precisely what the former Yokohama F Marinos man is good at.
The Japanese media have tipped to Celtic forward to be key, thanks to that hard work and pressing ability, which is going to give the German backline a difficult time.
Germany and Bayern Munich number one Manuel Neuer is well-known for his ability to come off his line and sweep up any long balls played in behind the defence.
However, with the pace of Maeda, the 36-year-old could be in for a surprise when he is being pressed during his attempts to clear the ball.
Despite the Japanese international’s qualities, it is still going to be a tough afternoon for the entire frontline, who will be up against a solid and experienced defence.
You would imagine Maeda will be hoping to use his UEFA Champions League experience with Celtic to his advantage after going up against some quality defenders earlier this season.
He will certainly be hoping that Japan can be more clinical in front of goal, with not many chances likely to fall their way during the 90 minutes.