THE SOCCEROOS’ rivalry with Japan is strong, and has been for the last decade – in the last 10 years the two sides have both won Asian Cups, qualified for FIFA World Cups and generally vied for supremacy in this region.
The last time they met in Melbourne, in 2009, it was a Cahill double which saw the Socceroos home 2-1 in a thrilling, come-from-behind, World Cup qualifier victory.
All signs point to another blockbuster at Docklands Stadium in October’s Russia 2018 qualifier.
Australia has a secret weapon though in Blayney’s Nathan Burns, and his inside knowledge of a number of the Samurai Blue squad.
The Blayney 88s junior is playing in Japan’s national competition – the J-League – for Tokyo FC.
Among the men he calls teammates are Japanese defenders Masato Morishige and Yuichi Maruyama.
“Our two [Tokyo FC] centre-backs are in the national team squad of Japan … so I know plenty about them,” Burns told socceroos南京夜网419论坛
“I play against them every day…they are quite good defenders.”
The reigning Asian Cup champions will have their work cut out for them against the sterling Japanese squad, which boasts the likes of English Premier League winner Shinji Okazaki and Borussia Dortmund’a Shinji Kagawa.
However, before the mouth-watering clash with Japan Burns and his Socceroos open their third phase qualifying campaign against Iraq in September, followed by away ties against Asian Cup semi finalists UAE and then Saudi Arabia.
Burns won the 2014/15 Hyundai A-League Johnny Warren Medallist for player of the year and signed with the Gasmen not long after.
He said he’s enjoyed his first year in Japan’s top flight.
“I’m quite happy there and the family is loving it. I’m quite happy to stay there for a few years,” he said.
“It’s at a really good level. There’s a strong J2, with some massive clubs.
“Even J3, our youth team play in that league and it is also professional. And I’ve a friend who is a coach in J5 and it’s unbelievable (too).”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.