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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Troussier seeks 'perfect chemistry'
Philippe Troussier
Troussier is concentrating on getting the small details right
Japan coach Philippe Troussier said he was still searching for the right chemistry in his team as he announced his 22-man squad for the friendly international against Costa Rica.

"At this stage, it is about getting the small details right, finding players who can give us that little bit extra when it counts," the Frenchman said.

Troussier has been forced to make changes for the game at the International Stadium in Yokohama on 17 April.

He has left out Jubilo Iwata striker Naohiro Takahara because of flu and Shimizu S-Pulse defender Ryuzo Morioka, who has a hamstring injury.

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The back three is my main concern
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Philippe Troussier

Troussier has also chosen not to include midfielder Hiroshi Nanami, who has played just two games for Iwata after his latest comeback from knee surgery.

But the coach insisted injuries and the absence of European-based players Hidetoshi Nakata of Parma, Feyenoord's Shinji Ono and Junichi Inamoto of Arsenal would give others a chance to stake their claim.

"It gives me the opportunity to try other combinations with players like (Tomokazu) Myojin, (Yuji) Nakazawa and (Tatsuhiko) Kubo," he said.

"Obviously (Alessandro) Santos comes into the equation, too."

Santos, who gave up his Brazilian citizenship in an attempt to play for Japan at the World Cup, made his debut in the 1-0 win over Ukraine on 21 March.

But he was left on the bench for the 2-0 away win over Poland six days later.

With Ono unavailable, the Shimizu S-Pulse midfielder is likely to start on the left of midfield, although he could make way at half-time for Yokohama playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura.

Ryuzo Morioka is likely to be a key member of the Japan squad
Morioka should be a key member of the World Cup squad

Kashima midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara retains his place in the squad as does Shimizu wing-back Daisuke Ichikawa, who had an impressive outing against Poland in Lodz.

Versatile Jubilo defender Toshihiro Hattori is recalled after undergoing stomach surgery in February, along with Nakazawa and Iwata defender Makoto Tanaka, who will be hoping to win his first cap.

"The back three is my main concern," Troussier said.

"One of my biggest headaches is whether or not Morioka can return in time for the World Cup."

Japan play Belgium, Russia and Tunisia in Group H at the World Cup, while Costa Rica have been drawn with Brazil, China and Turkey in Group C in South Korea.

The top teams from those two groups are scheduled to meet in the second round, giving the match in Yokohama an added twist.

"We could end up playing Costa Rica again at the World Cup, which is one reason we chose to play them now," Troussier said.

"They have qualified for the World Cup and I expect them to give us a good test."


Japan squad for friendly against Costa Rica:

Goalkeepers: Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus Eight), Hitoshi Sogahata (Kashima Antlers).

Defenders: Toshihiro Hattori (Jubilo Iwata), Makoto Tanaka (Iwata), Yasuhiro Hato (Yokohama Marinos), Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Gamba Osaka), Naoki Matsuda (Yokohama), Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama), Koji Nakata (Kashima).

Midfielders: Hiroaki Morishima (Cerezo Osaka), Takashi Fukunishi (Iwata), Alessandro Santos (Shimizu S-Pulse), Kazuyuki Toda (Shimizu), Tomokazu Myojin (Kashiwa Reysol), Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama), Mitsuo Ogasawara (Kashima), Daisuke Ichikawa (Shimizu).

Forwards: Takayuki Suzuki (Kashima), Akinori Nishizawa (Cerezo Osaka), Tatsuhiko Kubo (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Atsushi Yanagisawa (Kashima), Yoshiteru Yamashita (Vegalta Sendai).

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