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Jonathan Wilson: Perennial power Japan yet to impress in the Asian Cup

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September 2000, the Asian Cup. The ancient Lebanese port of Saida, where the Mediterranean laps at the Crusader fort as it has for centuries. Over the mountains to the east, the sky was a tumultuous purple. Lightning flickered around the Ferris wheel in the fairground that backed onto the small stadium where the two tournament favorites, Japan and Saudi Arabia, met in their opening group game. The scene was set for something apocalyptic, and Japan delivered, thrashing Saudi Arabia 4-1.


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