Forget about the World Cup, Gifu host a very big game of their own when they face J2 title challengers Jubilo Iwata on Saturday lunchtime.
FC Gifu have no injury worries (except the long term absentees) and so have a full squad to choose from. One position that isn’t settled in this team is the “third volante” position. Ramos keeps switching between Keisuke Ota and Taisuke Mizuno. I think he’ll go for Mizuno tomorrow. It’ll be an open game, and Mizuno has the ability to pick some nice passes. Otherwise, I think it will be the same team that lost in Oita last week.
My probable FC Gifu XI: Kawaguchi, Masuyama, Alex Santos, Abe, Kitani, Henik, Miyazawa, Mizuno, Takachi, Namba, Nazarit
Jubilo Iwata key men: Where do you start? Ryoichi Maeda is a proven striker; Daisuke Matsui has the ability to absolutely dominate J2 games; Komano provides veteran experience at the back. But I’m going with Popo. The veteran Brazilian attacking midfielder can hit the ball from anywhere, and his set piece delivery is fantastic. He is box office.
- FC gifu: Hiroaki Namba, Nazarit (7 goals)
- Jubilo Iwata: Ryoichi Maeda (9 goals)
Form Guide (last 5 games):
- FC Gifu: LLDWL
- Jubilo Iwata: DWLDW
Actually, this is the first time these clubs have in J.League action. There have been a number of pre-season friendlies & training matches but this is the first real business between the teams.
- Gifu captain Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi played over 200 for Jubilo Iwata
- Jubilo are the second top scorers in J2 with 29 goals thus far
- This is as close to a local derby as FC Gifu get. The journey between the two places can be done in around 80 minutes by car; 90 minutes by rapid train.
- J.League Division 2 matchday 18: FC Gifu v Jubilo Iwata
- Venue: Nagaragawa Memorial Centre, KO 1pm
- Weather: Sunny, partly cloudy, 10% chance of rain, high of 29°C
- Broadcast: Live on Skapa, also live on Gifu-chan