(Reuters) - Factbox on the Japan team ahead of the Asian Cup, which takes place in the United Arab Emirates from Jan 5 to Feb 1:
FIFA world ranking: 50
Ranking in Asia: 3
Previous Asian Cups: 8
Best performance: Champions (1992, 2000, 2004, 2011)
Nickname: Samurai Blue
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Regular captain: Maya Yoshida
Player to watch: Takumi Minamino
Sept 11 Japan 3-0 Costa Rica Suita
Oct 12 Japan 3-0 Panama Niigata
Oct 16 Japan 4-3 Uruguay Saitama
Nov 16 Japan 1-1 Venezuela Oita
Nov 20 Japan 4-0 Kyrgyzstan Toyota
Jan 9 Japan v Turkmenistan Abu Dhabi
Jan 13 Oman v Japan Abu Dhabi
Jan 17 Japan v Uzbekistan Al Ain
Since the heartbreaking loss to Belgium that ended their World Cup dream in the Round of 16 last July, Japan have been in prolific form on a five-match unbeaten streak under new boss Moriyasu.
The former under-23 coach had enough talent at his disposal that he was able to leave Leicester City striker Shinji Okazaki and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Shinji Kagawa out of his squad.
Japan should have more than enough firepower to top Group F and are likely to be there or thereabouts at the business end of the tournament.
Compiled by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by Greg Stutchbury