Japan’s captain and most experienced defender, Nakazawa is one of only three players to reach 100 caps for his country (along with goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and Masami Ihara).
He made his debut in 1999 and has been virtually ever-present at the heart of the Japan defence since 2003. The 32-year-old considered retiring after the 2006 World Cup put was talked out of it by Okada’s predecessor Ivica Osim.
He is excellent in the air and pops up with important goals, but has also been criticised for his performances against more physical sides.
The former J-League player of the year began his professional career with Verdy Kawasaki in 1999 and three years later was snapped up by Yokohama F-Marinos, where he won the J-League title in 2003 and 2004.
The long-haired centre-back is known as ‘Bomber’ or ‘Bomberhead’ (a Japanese hairstyle). Apparently former coach Philippe Troussier said his hairstyle was disruptive to team discipline, but Nakazawa refused to have it cut.
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