One to Watch – Shinji Kagawa (Japan)


Player Information

Name: Shinji Kagawa
Position: Midfield
Age: 29
Club: Borussia Dortmund
World Cup Influence: 5/10

Nation Overview 

Japan finished top of their group with 28 points, picking up a draw and 7 wins. They had a fairly easy group facing Syria, Singapore, Afghanistan and Cambodia. For me it would have been a failure if Japan didn’t finish top of their qualifying group. Smashing Afghanistan twice and beating Syria 5-0 proved for me how strong this Japanese team was in comparison to the other teams.


Performance of  Player in Qualification

Kagawa had a fantastic time at the qualifying stages, scoring 6 goals including braces against Afghanistan and Syria. He can bring many things to the World Cup which would come in handy, for example, he’s a very versatile midfielder. His best qualities are his agility, positioning during attack and the ability to pick out a brilliant pass .

He’s fairly quick and and is capable of scoring goals himself, interestingly for Japan he’s even played on the left in midfield or has been more in a attacking midfielder role.

Unfortunately like every player while Kawaga has his strengths he also has his weaknesses. His defensive game is weak whilst his battles in the air could do with improvement.


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Kawaga against New Zealand in 2014.

Why he’s one to watch 

Like I’ve stated above he is a very good midfielder who has played for two of the best teams in the world, he’s incredibly quick and a goal threat. He’s Japan’s biggest threat and whilst I think they do have some quality players, he is by far their best player. He’s one to watch because of how skillful on the ball he is, and when they play against Colombia tonight I’m sure he’ll be the stand out player of their group.

Player/Compilation Video

Football Manager Stats


His attributes are quite something to look at, with his first touch at 17,passing at 14 and his technique at 16 it’s impressive. His teamwork rating is also rated a massive 17.

It’s a shame it didn’t really work out at Manchester United because I really think if he was playing in the Premier League now he’d be one of the top midfielders in the country.

This isn’t the only ‘One to Watch’, we are releasing a one to watch article for every nation in the World Cup. An hour before each team kick off their first World Cup Group Stage game, we will release that nations one to watch. These can be viewed here – One to watch


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