Will Okada’s quarter-final prediction come true for Japan?

Their coach believes they can make the final eight but Japan’s recent results say they won’t even get four points in South Africa.

Their coach believes they can make the final eight but Japan’s recent results say they won’t even get four points in South Africa.

Home losses at the hands of South Korea and Serbia in addition to losses to England and the Ivory Coast have Takeshi Okada’s Blue Samurai heading into the World Cup with just one win from their past six outings.

That form is not ideal, especially in a fairly tough group where all three matches will be a massive test for a team that lacks an out-and-out goalscorer.

Their young players including Takayuki Morimoto, Keisuke Honda and Atsuto Uchida may surprise but it won’t be enough to get Japan out of the group stage and their performances may leave Okada trying to defend his words.

Japan

Playing schedule: Cameroon (Bloemfontein) June 14; Holland (Durban) June 19; Denmark (Rustenburg) June 24

Also known as: Blue Samurai
Manager: Takeshi Okada (JPN)
Captain: Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi
Key players: Shunsuke Nakamura, Keiji Tamada, Yuji Nakazawa
Wildcard: Tayakuki Morimoto
Player to watch: Keisuke Honda
Most caps: Masami Ihara (122). Of this squad: Yuji Nakazawa (105)
Top goalscorer: Kunishige Kamamoto (75). Of this squad: Shunsuke Nakamura (24)
FIFA ranking: 45
Qualifying: 2nd in Group B of AFC group stage.
Appearance: 4th
Best result: Round of 16 – 2002

Japan squad

Goalkeepers

Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus)
Eiji Kawashima (Kawasaki Frontale)
Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata)

Defenders

Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata)
Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Nagoya Grampus)
Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo)
Atsuto Uchida (FC Shalke)
Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers)
Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo)
Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F. Marinos)

Midfielder

Yuki Abe (Urawa Reds)
Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka)
Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble)
Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama F. Marinos)
Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale)
Makoto Hasebe (VfL Wolfsburg)
Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow)
Junichi Inamoto (Kawasaki Frontale)

Forwards

Shinji Okazaki (Shimizu S-Pulse)
Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus)
Kisho Yano (Albirex Niigata)
Yoshito Okubo (Vissel Kobe)
Takayuki Morimoto (Catania)

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