Japan manager Akira Nishino admits his side have been planning how to stop Sadio Mane in Sunday’s Group H clash with Senegal.
Mane has evidently been a key focus in Japan’s preparations for the game on the back of his instrumental role in Senegal’s opening game win over Poland.
The Liverpool forward has grown into the position of talisman as a leading implementor of his nation’s high intensity explosive attacking football.
Besides serving as an outlet with proven final product in behind, he has also picked up where he left off with the Reds in terms of serving as a technician from more central areas.
Speaking to reporters, Nishino said: “It is not just Yoshida, but all the players we are giving them information about Mane, though I am sure he will be in some duels with Mane,” per the Liverpool Echo.
“I am sure we can deal with him but with the contribution that Mane can make, it might be possible to mark him one on one or even three on one.”
“It is possible to stop him but the trouble is that he has influence too on other players, and that is what we are concerned about.”
Mane shouldered the responsibility as his team’s primary creator against Poland, wisely dictating the tempo of Senegal’s attacking plan according to the extent of Poland’s foot-hold in the game.
Besides striving to retain the ball in periods in aid of asserting his side’s authority, he was also typically at hand to capitalise on space to run into.
He now promises to be vital in setting the tone against an equally vibrant Japan side in a potential group decider.