DAIZEN MAEDA was a mysterious no-show as Japan toppled to a sensational 1-0 loss to Costa Rica in World Cup Group E this morning.
The Celtic striker was an unused substitute after playing 57 minutes of his country’s acclaimed 2-1 victory over Germany during the week.
Head coach Hajime Moriyasu threw on five substitutes as the Japanese toiled against the team that had been obliterated 7-0 by Spain in their opening encounter in the soccer showpiece in Qatar.
BY THE LEFT…Costa Rica defender Keysher Fuller curls in the winner to shock Japan.
A strangely slipshod display by the favourites was highlighted in the 81st minute when the outsiders claimed the winning goal after some alarmingly sloppy play in defence.
They were punished when the ball fell to right-back Keysher Fuller just inside the box. He dragged the ball to his left and curled an effort over keeper Shuichi Gonda who got his timing and angles badly wrong. He flapped at the ball as it floated high into the top corner of the net.
It was a real shocker in the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium and Maeda was left sitting among the stand-by squad helpless to try to rectify the situation.
The fleet-footed Hoops ace will be hoping to get the nod to face Spain on Thursday night as his nation attempt to come back off the ropes.
Of course, it’s not the first time team boss Moriyasu has puzzled Celtic or the fans. He sprung a surprise even before a ball was kicked in the Middle East by overlooking the claims of Kyogo Furuhashi and Reo Hatate for his 22-man squad.