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Yoshida set for Afghanistan and Syria games

Maya Yoshida

Southampton's Maya Yoshida in action for Japan

Image by: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

PUBLISHED

00:00 18th March 2016

Maya Yoshida will link up with Japan next week for their FIFA World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers against Afghanistan and Syria.

Centre-half Yoshida is included in head coach Vahid Halilhodžić’s squad for the two games, which will both take place in Saitama.

Japan will face Afghanistan on Thursday 24th March (10.30am GMT), before hosting Syria on Tuesday 29th March (11.30am BST).

Both games will double as 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers.

The next two games represent the final ones in the latest stage of qualifying. The eight group winners and four best runners-up will qualify for the Asian Cup finals, in United Arab Emirates, in three years’ time, while they will also advance to the third stage of FIFA World Cup qualification.

Japan currently top Group E, with 16 points from six matches. Syria are one point behind them and are the only side capable of overhauling them.

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