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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Saturday, 19 June 2010 15:51 UK

Japan showed courage, says coach

Japan's players at the final whistle
Coach Okada praised his players for their efforts

Japan coach Takeshi Okada praised the courage of his team after their 1-0 defeat by the Netherlands.

Despite defending for much of the game, Japan had chances to score before and after Wesley Sneijder's winning goal.

Okada said: "During the first half we were not only concentrating on the defence. We expected the Netherlands to be frustrated.

"But defence alone was not enough. So I told our players to be very courageous and aggressive when we had the ball."

Despite the Dutch having the majority of possession, Japan came closest to scoring during the opening 45 minutes.


And after Sneijder's 53rd-minute strike, Okada's side continued to press and almost equalised in injury time, when Shinji Okazaki blazed over from eight yards out.

Okada added: "Our players did everything they could, but we could not beat the Netherlands. We feel sorry for the fans."

The result means Japan could be eliminated from the tournament if they fail to beat Denmark in their final group match.

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see also
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup day nine photos
19 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
Honda delight at Japan team unity
14 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010

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