The latest on Celtic star Kyogo Furuhashi as Japan labour against Oman

By Euan Davidson

November 16, 2021

Celtic star Kyogo Furuhashi may be on inspired form in Glasgow, but for whatever reason, he can’t make the Japan starting line-up.

The Samurai Blue went with Yuya Osako up-top against Oman, to little effect. Hajime Moriyasu’s talented squad again laboured against comparative minnows. And even when the red-hot Kyogo Furuhashi got on the pitch, it was on the left of a front-three.

After 62 minutes, the Celtic fan favourite replaced his former high school teammate Takumi Minamino, of Liverpool. With the score locked at 0-0, Moriyasu was clearly looking to Kyogo for an instant impact against a team ranked 77th in the world [FIFA].

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Japan, prior to kick-off, sat well below Saudi Arabia and just beneath Australia in their AFC World Cup qualification group [ESPN]. A lack of goals has been a real issue, despite having numerous J League and international talents at their disposal.

Talents including Kyogo Furuhashi. And, in the end, he was on the pitch with Japan made the breakthrough.

Right-winger Junya Ito, who scored in Japan’s last game, made his mark again for the Samurai Blue, and possibly saving Moriyasu’s job for now.

This followed a strange week for the Japan international. Kyogo and many of his teammates started the international break stranded in Russia [Sun]. A refuelling led to Kyogo and co waiting for ten hours before they could head to Hanoi for a crucial qualifier against Vietnam. That was a game Japan won 1-0.

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Japan save the best for last with Kyogo Furuhashi helping a manager who doesn’t play him correctly

We know Kyogo Furuhashi can play on the left of a three, he’s done it for Celtic. But in such excellent form through the middle, it’s clearly going to be a continued frustration for Japan supporters to see him being utilised less effectively.

Supporters like Keisuke Honda, who amassed 98 caps for the Samurai Blue. If you’re not going to listen to a legend like him, who will Moriyasu listen to?

Limited on the left wing, Kyogo had just one shot, that drifted harmlessly off-target. He was at least able to deliver a cross and play some neat passes, but his impact from the wing is always going to be markedly reduced.

Photo by Adil Al Naimi/Getty Images

Compared to the damage he can do up front, at least. However, the result is enough for Moriyasu. It was enough for Japan to leapfrog Tom Rogic’s Australia into second place, with 4 wins and 2 losses from 6 games.

We’ll surely see Kyogo Furuhashi at the World Cup 2022, hopefully facing some of his teammates at club level. Scotland got to the play-offs last night with a crucial win over Denmark.

Will Kyogo ever get to play in his best position for Japan, though? Surely, it’ll happen eventually.

At least he wasn’t injured. Small mercies, and all that.

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