Abu Dhabi: Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu has challenged his players to produce the same intensity they showed in the second half of their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 opener against Turkmenistan when they face a highly promising Oman in Group F on Sunday.
Four-time AFC Asian Cup champions Japan raised their game after trailing 1-0 against Turkmenistan at the break but some tweaking by Moriyasu saw a vastly different side in the second half as the Samurai Blue eventually won 3-2.
Oman, having suffered a 2-1 defeat to Uzbekistan in their opener, need a win to keep their hopes alive and head coach Pim Verbeek promised that his team will give it their all at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
"We faced some difficulty against Turkmenistan and tomorrow, it will be the same against Oman. We know that every game will be difficult but the key is to adapt," said Moriyasu.
"We will have a gameplan and I would like it if we dominate but if we can't, we must be able to change our approach. It is important that we play with the intention of taking the game to Oman.
"The players must be focused and, more importantly, able to change our style if there is a need."
Oman, said Moriyasu, impressed him in their match against Uzbekistan.
"Oman have very quick counter-attacks but can also hold the ball well too. We have to be mindful of that as they can hit us if we let our guard down.
"However, we have prepared well and I hope the players express themselves on the pitch. Ideally, I would like to seal a place in the next stage tomorrow but we must be patient, not pressure ourselves," added Moriyasu.
Oman, said head coach Verbeek, will face one of Asia's biggest teams with respect but no fear as they want an extended AFC Asian Cup campaign.
"We are looking forward to playing probably one of the best teams in Asia. They are a big team, experienced, played in the World Cup six months ago and now have brought in new talent. We are excited to be playing them.
"We won't fear them as we need the points after being so unlucky against Uzbekistan," said Verbeek.
The defeat to Uzbekistan, said Verbeek, is the reason why Oman will face Japan with confidence.
"We played very well against Uzbekistan but we were unlucky to concede so late. The players, however, have been told of what went wrong and we will face Japan with confidence."
Verbeek said Japan may be superior in terms of experience and technical ability but Oman have done their homework.
"We must capitalise on Japan's weaknesses, if there is any. The players have watched the match against Turkmenistan and they will go into the match fully aware of what we need to do for the three points."