Ryuzo Morioka is a player who knows that a successful World Cup could catapult him out of the J-League and into Europe.
Clubs outside of Japan are already aware of his talents - he has had a trial with English Premiership side Tottenham.
Short-listed for last year's Asian Player of the Year award, Morioka played a massive part in Japan's 2001 Asian Cup triumph where he was voted the best defender in the tournament.
Manager Philippe Troussier has worked hard to improve Japan's defending and, in Morioka, knows he has a willing student.
He started his career with Kashima Antlers but now plays for Shimizu S-Pulse.