Players to watch in Group D at the Asian Cup
Keisuke Honda — 28, midfielder, AC Milan. Widely considered Japan’s best player, Honda scored six goals in Milan’s opening seven matches this season but has been held off the score sheet in seven matches since. An attacking midfielder, Honda is the top Japanese scorer in World Cup history with three goals.
Shinji Kagawa — 25, midfielder, Borussia Dortmund. After impressive performances in his first stint with the German club, Kagawa has failed to find his form in his return to the Bundesliga after two disappointing seasons at Manchester United. Has scored just two goals in 18 appearances this season. Was named Asian Football Confederation International Player of the Year in 2012.
Shinji Okazaki — 28, forward, Mainz. While he doesn’t get the notoriety of Honda or Kagawa, Okazaki has been more prolific on the score sheet, netting 15 goals last season for Mainz. Okazaki became the most prolific Japanese player in Bundesliga history on Sept. 13, scoring his 27th and 28th league goals in Mainz’s 3-1 win over Hertha Berlin.
Odai Al-Saify — 28, forward, Al-Salmiya SC. Al Saify has earned more than 70 international caps since his debut in 2007. A proven striker, he’s scored 14 goals in 93 appearances for Al-Salmiya.
Ahmad Hayel — 31, forward, Al-Arabi. Hayal made his international debut in 2005. Has scored 18 goals in 87 games for Jordan.
Khalil Bani Attiah — 23, defender, Al-Faisaly. Steady defender who made his international debut against North Korea in 2011. Older brother Nourideen Bani Attiah plays as goalkeeper for Al-Faisaly and the Jordan national youth teams.
Younis Mahmoud — 31, forward. Since his international debut in 2002, Mahmoud has scored 50 goals in 124 matches. He captained the Iraqi national team that won the 2007 Asian Cup, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the final. Scored twice for Iraq in a 3-1 win over China in an Asian Cup qualifying match last March.
Karrar Jassim — 27, midfielder, Esteghlal. Karrar scored three goals in the Asian qualifiers for the 2008 Olympics. Has scored twice in 15 games for Esteghlal this season.
Ahmed Yasin Ghani — 23, midfielder, Orebro SK. Has scored 15 goals over six seasons with Swedish clubs BK Forward and Orebro SK. Scored his first international goal for Iraq in a 2-0 win over Oman in the 2012 WAFF Championship.
Ashraf Nu’man — 28, midfielder, Al-Faisaly FC. Scored four goals in the AFC Challenge Cup, helping his team qualify for the Asian Cup. He is equal with Fahed Attal for most goals ever for the Palestinian team.
Murad Ismail Said — 32, midfielder, Al-Wehdat. Said was named most valuable player of the AFC Challenge Cup. Experienced defensive midfielder who began his professional career with Al Ahly in 2009.
Ahmad Wridat — 23, midfielder, Shabab Al Dhahriah. Wridat has scored five goals in eight internationals, four of which came against Taiwan in the 2014 Philippines Peace Cup.