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Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 11:12 UK

World Cup 2010: Nakamura in Japan World Cup squad

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Former Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura has been named in Japan's 23-man squad for the World Cup finals after recovering from an ankle injury.

Nakamura, 31, missed the friendly against England on Sunday but played all 90 minutes of a behind-closed-doors match on Monday.

The Yokohama Marinos playmaker should feature in Japan's final warm-up game against Ivory Coast on Friday.

Coach Takeshi Okada's named four European-based players in his squad.

They are Wolfsburg's Makoto Hasebe, CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda, Grenoble's Daisuke Matsui and Catania's Takayuki Morimoto.

Okada, who was in charge for Japan's winless World Cup finals debut in France in 1998, recently received the backing of Japan Football Association president Motoaki Inukai after his team suffered a 2-0 defeat to South Korea on 24 May.

Japan are in Group E along with Cameroon, Denmark and the Netherlands - and coach Okada has targeted a place in the last four at the World Cup.

But domestic-based Japan sides also lost to South Korea in February's East Asian Championship and to a second-string Serbia in April.

Goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki will make his fourth consecutive appearance in the finals, while former national team skipper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, who was first choice keeper in 1998 and 2002, makes a comeback, having recovered from a broken leg.

"He can be in a difficult position as third goalkeeper," Okada said of 34-year-old Kawaguchi, who made 12 appearances for Portsmouth between 2001 and 2003.

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"But he has a strong leadership and we need his presence for us to compete through this coming tournament."

"We are going to play aggressive in defence and offence with all these players to gain a win in South Africa," Okada said.

"With these players, I want good performances and I want them to play the Japanese way."

The strikers comprise Morimoto, Keiji Tamada, Yoshito Okubo, Kisho Yano and Shinji Okazaki with Okada keen to put the emphasis on pace.

"It's important when and how we score goals. It's not easy when our opponents play defensively. I chose these forwards thinking about quick offence," he said.


Japan squad:

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

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

Midfielders: Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama Marinos), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Junichi Inamoto (Kawasaki Frontale), Yuki Abe (Urawa Red Diamonds), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg/Germany), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow/Russia), Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble/France)

Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Shimizu S-Pulse), Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus), Yasuhito Okubo (Vissel Kobe), Kisho Yano (Albirex Niigata), Takayuki Morimoto (Catania/Italy)



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see also
Japan abandons 2018 World Cup bid
04 May 10 |  Football
Japan's World Cup qualifying highlights
03 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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