Japan captain Maya Yoshida warned his young teammates that they will need to handle the pressure that comes with being Asian Cup favourites as the four-time winners prepare to open their campaign against Turkmenistan on Wednesday.
The Samurai Blue are the most successful side in the tournament`s history and are among the favourites in the United Arab Emirates, alongside South Korea and Iran.
Southampton defender Yoshida, who was a member of the squad that won a record fourth Asian Cup title in 2011, said that the pressure to succeed comes with the territory.
"There`s always a strong expectation that we`ll win in Asia. There`s a lot of pressure, but it`s something you have to deal with in order to win," Yoshida said on Tuesday as he looked ahead to the Turkmenistan clash.
"If you can`t handle that pressure, you won`t make it into the World Cup (squad), or to World Cup qualifying."
Coach Hajime Moriyasu, who is undefeated in his first five games in charge, has named a young and inexperienced squad including 12 players with 10 or fewer caps for the tournament where they are in Group F alongside Turkmenistan, Oman and Uzbekistan.
Yoshida wants his young teammates to take advantage of the opportunity in the UAE to cement themselves in the Japan side.
"You can`t take on the world by yourself," he added.
"To take the next step as a Japan player, you have to overcome that."