Two AFC big guns, a massive rivalry and both nations with genuine designs on an automatic World Cup qualification spot. It all makes for a blockbuster qualifier when Australia host Japan in Melbourne on Tuesday night.
And make no mistake in the context of Group B standings; this is an absolutely crucial game for the Samurai Blue.
Japan will know a loss in Australia and their group chances will take a major hit – particularly if Saudi Arabia defeat UAE on Tuesday night in Jeddah.
A home game for Japan against the Saudis in November (what a huge game that’ll be for both nations), means Japan simply must leave Docklands with at least a point to stay in striking distance of the top two.
Will Japan open up and expose themselves to Cahill and Co and their relentless high press and attacking threats?
Or will veteran coach Vahid Halilhodžić’ - a well respected manager who coached Algeria at the last World Cup - set up with a compact structure, aiming to blunt the Australians and hit them on the transition with their pace and trickery?
Whatever happens, this should be an absolutely fascinating qualifier and with so much at stake, tensions will be high.
After a shock defeat at home in their opening qualifier, Japan have bounced back with wins over Thailand (2-0) followed by a 95th-minute goal to beat Iraq 2-1 last Thursday.
Halilhodžić’s team, though, haven’t been anywhere near their best so far.
The Caltex Socceroos were perhaps unlucky not to beat the Saudis last week and you can be sure they’ll relish the cooler conditions in Melbourne.
That said, Japan have a side oozing with quality and can never be discounted.
With Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki leading the attack and the likes of Keisuke Honda, Stuttgart’s Takuma Asano, Shinji Kagawa, Makoto Hasebe and Genki Haraguchi, this is a Japanese team that can easily click into gear.
Japan have long been the powerhouse of the AFC but last year’s Asian Cup triumph by Australia has seen the green and gold take the mantle.
But the Samurai Blue will feel this is an opportunity to restore their reputation and reinvigorate their stuttering campaign.
Despite the draw with the Saudis, Australia’s performance on the road was excellent and belief won’t have wavered despite dropping their first points of this group stage.
Fatigue may be the only question mark after a long trip back from Jeddah where the squad only arrived in Melbourne late on Saturday night.
But Australia’s investment in the best sports science and recovery staff and techniques comes into play now.
There are no major issues in the squad, despite skipper Mile Jedinak being the only player to miss Sunday’s light field session.
All 23 players are expected to be available for selection, with Ange Postecoglou likely to make a couple of changes to freshen up his squad.
Tim Cahill and Massimo Luongo came off the bench in Jeddah and are two options to be unleashed from the start.
Cahill loves playing against Japan and has scored some crucial goals against them. The Samurai Blue cannot contain the great man, it seems.
A fresh Ryan McGowan might also be considered for a start at right-back as well.
Another thrilling and fascinating chapter in the epic rivalry awaits fans at what should be a packed Docklands.