Singapore coach Bernd Stange says holding Japan to a draw ‘would be a world sensation’

German thinks Singapore have the talent to qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time but are unlikely to trouble Japan in their 2018 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Kensuke Nagai, left, works out alongside Keisuke Honda during Japan national team training at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama on June 9, 2015. The Japan Football Association said Nagai has been added to Vahid Halilhodzic's squad for a friendly against Iraq two days later and a World Cup qualifier against Singapore on June 16. (Kyodo)
Kensuke Nagai, left, works out alongside Keisuke Honda during Japan national team training at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama on June 9, 2015. The Japan Football Association said Nagai has been added to Vahid Halilhodzic's squad for a friendly against Iraq two days later and a World Cup qualifier against Singapore on June 16. (Kyodo)

TOKYO // Singapore have the talent to qualify for the Asian Cup for the first time but are unlikely to trouble Japan in their 2018 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, their German coach Bernd Stange said.

Perennial qualifiers Japan are expected to run up a large total at Saitama World Cup Stadium against a side ranked 154th in the world by Fifa and who last beat japan in a friendly in 1978.

“It’s a highlight and all players want to play in a great football party,” Stange said.

“I know Japan will have the ball all the time and dominate us and create a lot of problems but I just want us to stay calm and play the way we can. Nothing special, just what we can.”

Japan warmed up for their opening Group E fixture by thrashing former Asian champions Iraq 4-0 in Yokohama on Thursday as Singapore were kicking off their dual World Cup and Asian Cup campaign by also winning 4-0 in Cambodia.

Stange was under no illusions about the task facing Singapore.

“If the quality of your opponent is much, much higher you need luck and unbelievable commitment,” the former Belarus coach said.

“It always happens in football that second or third division teams beat top teams in a cup competition but it’s very, very seldom. At the end of the day, the quality makes the decision about the result.

“We try to make a good result. What would be a good result? It would be a world sensation if we take a draw from Japan.”

Group E also contains Afghanistan and Syria, with only the top side after the home and away matches guaranteed a place in the next round of World Cup qualifiers and a spot at the 2019 Asian Cup

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Published: June 15, 2015 04:00 AM

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