Japan's Nakamura wary of Australia and Uzbekistan

"Our biggest rivals are Australia," the Celtic midfielder was quoted saying at the weekend after Japan were drawn into final-round Group A with the Socceroos, Uzbekistan, Bahrain and Qatar on Friday.

"Many of them play in the (English) Premier League. They are big and physically strong," the 30-year-old playmaker told the Sports Hochi about Pim Verbeek's side.

"They overlap in a dynamic fashion. Quick passing will be effective against their power soccer.

"On the contrary, they find Japan hard to handle," claimed Nakamura.

He said Japan had put behind them the "trauma" of their 3-1 defeat to Australia in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

"If possible, we want to secure a berth in the World Cup finals before our final qualifier," Nakamura added.

Nakamura also warned that the Uzbekistan players, "are physically big and play European-style football. They have good forwards, too," he told the Nikkan Sports daily.

"Newspapers said we are luckier than in Group B. But it makes no difference as it is still tough (in Group A)," he said. "We must watch out for all the countries as they are raring to beat Japan."

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