Japan vs. Netherlands: Preview and TV schedule

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Japan and the Netherlands meet in Belgium early on Saturday, in a friendly with the rare potential to entertain.

Japan under the guidance of Italian Alberto Zaccheroni have been rather unpredictable. The former scudetto-winning AC Milan coach ensured his side became the first nation to guarantee their spot at  next year's World Cup, though has come under fire for his side's underwhelming Confederations Cup campaign, and recent back-to-back friendly defeats to Serbia and Belarus.

They're a side filled with talented players, with the most notable being Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, and, when in full flow, pressing high up the pitch and rapidly interchanging in attack, they've been a joy to watch. The question now, is whether they'll manage to find any consistency before Brazil 2014. They meet the Netherlands in a friendly on Saturday morning, hoping to end their poor run with a win.

The Netherlands haven't lost a game in over a year, and have looked excellent in their recent matches. However, they'll be without newly-crowned all-time top scorer Robin van Persie through injury in this match, with fellow centre-forwards Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ricky van Wolfswinkel also unavailable. Midfielder Siem de Jong could find himself filling in up front. Midfielder Jordy Clasie is also out. Japan have no real injury concerns, though regular striker Ryoichi Maeda has been omitted from Zaccheroni's squad.

Projected lineups

Japan: Eiji Kawashima; Yūto Nagatomo, Yasuyuki Konno, Maya Yoshida, Atsuto Uchida; Yasuhito Endō, Makoto Hasebe; Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda, Shinji Okazaki; Yuya Osako.

Netherlands: Tim Krul; Daryl Janmaat, Stefan de Vrij, Ron Vlaar, Daley Blind; Rafael van der Vaart, Nigel de Jong, Kevin Strootman; Arjen Robben, Siem de Jong, Jeremain Lens.

Match Date/Time: Saturday, 1:15 p.m. local, 7:15 a.m. ET

Venue: Cristal Arena, Genk, Belgium

TV: TV Asahi, SKY PerfecTV LIVE (Japan)

Online: beIN Sport Play (U.S. and Canada)

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