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Kawasaki Frontale's Inamoto insists Japan will be better equipped for WC 2010

Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Junichi Inamoto is adamant that the Japan national team will not self-destruct like it did in 2006.

The Blue Samurai, who lost an international friendly to Serbia 3-0 overnight, came tumbling out of the tournament in Germany four years ago after letting a lead slip late in their opening group stage match against Australia which ultimately gave them no chance of progressing to the next phase.

But Inamoto, who recently returned to his homeland after almost a decade in Europe with clubs such as Arsenal, Fulham, Frankfurt and Rennes, believes the 2010 version of the Japanese national team will be better equipped in South Africa.

"The quality of players and the communication is better," Inamoto told Reuters. "The coach (Takeshi Okada) has the team playing good football. The level has improved.

"The first game (against Cameroon on June 14) will be key.

"We have to get a result. But even if we lose we must make sure we don't lose the plot like we did last time after we lost to Australia in our first game.

"If we do lose our opening game we have to keep our motivation and focus sharp for the next one.

"We have to battle for three games and make sure we get through the group."

Japan are up against Cameroon, Holland and Denmark in Group E of the 2010 World Cup which kicks off on June 11 this year.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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