Due to an injury he suffered with Arsenal, Tomiyasu wasn’t completely fit at the start of the AFC Asian Cup. He missed Japan’s opener against Vietnam, as well as the first half of their match against Iraq.
Japan did win against Vietnam, but they conceded twice, and then twice more in the first half against Iraq, showing defensive frailties without Tomiyasu.
Tomiyasu helped the team to change that, as they didn’t concede in the 45 minutes he was on the pitch. But they only managed to score once, slipping to a 2-1 defeat.
The Asian Cup allows teams to bring 26 players to the tournament, but only 23 can be named in any given matchday squad. As a result, there will always be a few players missing.
Tomiyasu was one of those players in Japan’s opening game, given he hadn’t been involved in full training with Japan for most of their pre-game sessions.
Instead, he’d taken on an individual workload while the main session went on without him. Tomiyasu has since returned to full training.
With their results so far, Japan aren’t yet guaranteed progression to the knockout stages of the Asian Cup.
The top two teams in each group qualify automatically, but Japan could still finish third, in which case they’d have to hope they were one of the four best third-place finishers.
To avoid any risk of elimination, Japan need to draw or win against Indonesia in their final game on Wednesday, January 24th at 11:30 GMT.