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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 07:23 GMT 08:23 UK
Maki included in Japan Cup squad

Seiichiro Maki
Maki was a surprise inclusion in the squad
Yokohama striker Tatsuhiko Kubo has surprisingly been left out of Japan's 23-man World Cup squad in favour of the little-used Seiichiro Maki.

Fellow forward Atsushi Yanagisawa is included, despite the fact he is still recovering from a broken metatarsal.

Coach Zico has also picked West Brom's Junichi Inamoto, Bolton's Hidetoshi Nakata and Celtic's Shunsuke Nakamura.

Japan, who have struggled for goals recently, face Brazil, Australia and Croatia in Group F this summer.

It will be the Japanese team's third consecutive appearance at the World Cup finals, having qualified as co-hosts with South Korea last time, in 2002.

Former Portsmouth player Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi is one of three goalkeepers named in the squad and ex-Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono, now playing back in the J-League with Urawa Reds, is also included.

Team coach Zico defended the controversial choice up front.

"Kubo was not right physically and Maki is an interesting player who gives us another option," he said.

"He's shown he can be a threat in the penalty box.

"This is a team the people of Japan can be proud of.

"We will be judged on our results. The buck stops with me."

Goalkeepers: Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata), Yoichi Doi (FC Tokyo), Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus Eight)

Defenders: Makoto Tanaka (Jubilo Iwata), Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Gamba Osaka), Alessandro Santos (Urawa Reds), Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F Marinos), Keisuke Tsuboi (Urawa Reds), Akira Kaji (Gamba Osaka), Yuichi Komano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Koji Nakata (Basle, Switzerland)

Midfielders: Takashi Fukunishi (Jubilo Iwata), Mitsuo Ogasawara (Kashima Antlers), Shinji Ono (Urawa Reds), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton, England), Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic, Scotland), Junichi Inamoto (West Bromwich Albion, England)

Forwards: Seiichiro Maki (JEF United Chiba), Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus Eight), Atsushi Yanagisawa (Kashima Antlers), Masashi Oguro (Grenoble, France), Naohiro Takahara (Hamburg, Germany)

Japan team guide
27 Apr 06 |  Japan
World Cup fixtures
09 Dec 05 |  Schedule
Have your say on the World Cup
28 Apr 06 |  Football
BBC World Cup coverage
27 Apr 06 |  BBC coverage

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