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Brazil legend Zico looking forward to Japan return with Iraq

Iraq national team manager Zico is excited about getting the chance to head back to Japan.

The Brazil legend coached the Japanese side between 2002 and 2006, taking the Blue Samurai to the 2006 World Cup, and is now looking forward to taking his Iraqi team to the land of the rising sun in September this year for a 2014 World qualifier.

"I'm very excited about going to Japan," said Zico, who previously also worked with J.League club Kashima Antlers. "I have a strong relationship with the Japanese people and the players in the team now, some of them I picked for the team for the first time.

"They're a big team and it will be incredible. I played against Brazil when I was Japan coach at the FIFA World Cup in Germany and now I'm playing against Japan with Iraq - it's incredible."

Japan and Iraq first meet in Group B of Asian qualifying in September this year before the return meeting in Iraq in June next year.

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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