Home News Wataru Endo assists in Asian Cup opener – with Takumi Minamino the...

Wataru Endo assists in Asian Cup opener – with Takumi Minamino the star


Wataru Endo captained Japan to a 4-2 victory over Vietnam in his first game away from Liverpool at the Asian Cup, also assisting a goal for Takumi Minamino.

Endo is set for a long spell away from Merseyside as he competes for silverware with his country, with the Asian Cup running from January 12 to February 10.

Sunday saw Japan get their group games underway with a win over Vietnam, with the Liverpool midfielder playing the full 90 minutes as captain.

It was a former Reds player in Minamino who opened the scoring, though Japan were soon pegged back as teenager Nguyen Dinh Bac levelled for Vietnam.

Vietnam went ahead in the 33rd minute with forward Pham Tuan Hai securing a shock lead, only for Endo to tee up Minamino for an equaliser on the cusp of half-time.

DOHA, QATAR - Sunday, November 27, 2022: Japan's Wataru Endo during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Costa Rica at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. Costa Rica won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And before the break, Endo played it forward to Minamino who fed Keito Nakamura, with the Reims winger cutting onto his right foot and firing a brilliant effort in for 3-2.

Japan controlled proceedings after the break, and sealed the three points as Ayase Ueda converted late on.

Endo played the full 90 minutes and, per FotMob, came away having made the most recoveries (12) and the joint-most passes into the final third (19), as well as creating the joint-second most chances (two).

It was Minamino who was arguably the star, though, the 28-year-old adding to his two goals with an assist, as well as being the only player to fire more than one shot on goal, hitting the target with three of four efforts.

DOHA, QATAR - Wednesday, November 23, 2022: Japan's Japan's Takumi Minamino during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While he was unable to carve out a starting role at Liverpool, Minamino is a key player for both Japan and new club Monaco.

This season, he has five goals and four assists in 16 games for the Ligue 1 side, as well as three goals and three assists in six outings for Japan.

Japan’s next game is Iraq on Friday, with Indonesia and Iraq playing their first games of Group D on Monday.