Inter and Man Utd aces, Milan playmaker, Mainz star in Japan squad
Alberto Zaccheroni has named a strong Japan squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Italian tactician has called together a 23-man roster for a pre-tournament training camp as they prepare for their opening World Cup fixture against the Ivory Coast in Recife on June 14.
Prior to that, however, the Blue Samurai will meet Cyprus, Costa Rica and Zambia in friendlies for which they will have the below 23 players to choose from.
Inter Milan's Yuto Nagatomo, AC Milan's Keisuke Honda, FC Nurnberg's Makoto Hasebe, Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa, Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Mainz striker Shinji Okazaki are among the 12 European-based representatives while there are 11 players from the J.League also present.
Zaccheroni told FIFA.com: "It was a struggle to get the list down to 23. I wanted to call up (FIFA president) Sepp Blatter and ask him to let me pick more.
"But this group of players knows how I want them to play tactically and understands the team ethic.
"We need to make sure our conditioning is perfect. I don't wish to make concrete predictions, and if we lose we'll take it on the chin. But if we play to our potential we have a chance. We're positive. Let's see how far it takes us."
23-man Japan squad for World Cup
Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka) Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata) Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan/ITA) Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo) Atsuto Uchida (Schalke/GER) Maya Yoshida (Southampton/ENG) Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96/GER) Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart/GER)
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