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Team History

WORLD CUP HISTORY Japan
WORLD CUP APPEARANCES
6
WORLD CUP RECORD
4-4-9
BEST FINISH
Round of 16 (2002, 2010)
GOALS SCORED (RANK)
14 (36th)
Japan’s introduction to the FIFA World Cup didn’t come until 1998, when the team finished 0-0-3. Masashi Nakayama scored Japan’s only goal of the tournament in a 2-1 loss to Jamaica.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup, cohosted by Japan and South Korea, was the first World Cup held in Asia. Each country provided 10 venues, and the final was played in Yokohama, Japan. With the support of a strong home crown, Japan won its group before falling 1-0 to Turkey.
The momentum from Japan’s 2002 World Cup success did not carry into 2006. Japan finished last in its group with a 0-1-2 record, scoring just two goals while allowing seven.
Japan advanced to its second-ever Round of 16 in 2010 on the strength of a 2-0-1 record in the Group Stage. There, it played Paraguay to a scoreless draw before falling 5-3 on penalty kicks.
Japan struggled in 2014, when the team finished 0-1-2 and failed to make it out of group play.
While Japan didn’t qualify for its first World Cup until 1998, the country has been a regular at the event ever since. Japan is making its sixth consecutive appearance.