Japan and Southampton centre-back Maya Yoshida says the Samurai Blue is aware of the dangers Australia’s midfield causes.
Yoshida has vast experience defending against world class strikers in the Premier League since signing for The Saints in 2012.
The 28-year-old was wary of the threats and spoke of captain Mile Jedinak who he spent time with at his former club Crystal Palace and the leadership he had for the Socceroos.
Yoshida also highlighted the most important task was making sure star man Tim Cahill did not get the services to replicate the havoc he created against the Japanese in the past.
“Mile (Jedinak) has a lot of experience I think he’s helped instil confidence in the team,” Yoshida told FourFourTwo. “I know of course (Tim) Cahill, he’s scored many against us so we have to think about him and also we have to read the game before he comes into the game.
“He’s very strong in the box and really good at his headers, we have to avoid letting Australia bring in good crosses on the side and we have to stay out of the box as much as we can.
“We’re almost sure he’ll come in the last 15 to 20 minutes, so we’re ready for that and we have to avoid any silly mistakes on the side, because we conceded a goal in the last game against Iraq as well, so we need to be prepared for their set-pieces as well, but also to be more careful.”
Yoshida said he felt a genuine rivalry with Australia after the Socceroos’ entered the Asian confederation in 2006.
The last time the Socceroos defeated Japan was a 2-1 victory at the MCG in 2009 when Australia was on the road to South Africa’s 2010 world cup.
And after the second stage of qualification, Yoshida conceded he had one country on his mind entering the final phase to Russia 2018.
“When I saw the group draw and immediately I was thinking about Australia. Maybe they don’t have many big names anymore like four years ago, but as a team they’re still a good team,” he said.
“They’ve changed their style of football a little bit, it’s faster football and a few good players in the midfield.
“Tomorrow is a massive clash against Australia, they’re one of the biggest teams in the group and I think it’s going to be the toughest match of qualification tomorrow. I think we have been struggling through the last three games, but if we win this game, it’s going to be very meaningful for us.
“It’s not all about Australia, it’s all about ourselves, so we need to win this game and it doesn’t matter who (Postecoglou) plays, we need three points even it’s an away game we need to get the points.”
Japan and Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki said the team was confident after their 2-1 win over Iraq four days ago.
The Premier League winner said he had high hopes to test Socceroo goalkeeper Maty Ryan tomorrow night.
“It’s a very important game, Australia is a strong team and it’ll be a very difficult match,” Okazaki told FourFourTwo.
“I want to score goals because we want to win and I think we can win.”
Australia currently top the group table with seven points leading Saudi Arabia on goal difference. Japan’s crucial wins over Thailand (2-0) and Iraq (2-1) keeps the Samurai Blue in the hunt after their shock 2-1 home defeat to UAE at the beginning of September.