Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).
Defenders: Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96), Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart).
Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Makoto Hasebe, Hiroshi Kiyotake (both FC Nuremberg), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F Marinos).
Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Yuya Osako (TSV Munich 1860), Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale).
14 June v Ivory Coast (Recife)
19 June v Greece (Natal)
24 June v Colombia (Cuiaba)
Japan are great on the ball with quick passing, movement and pace all around the pitch. Once they have possession, it is not given up easily as Hasebe dictates the tempo from deep midfield. They have an abundance of European experience, supporting full-backs and great creativity from midfield in the form of Kagawa and Honda.
Despite a strong first XI, an injury could easily leave a gaping hole in the team. The squad has been together for a long time so there are some concerns over staleness and lack of spark. They can be wasteful in front of goal.
Keisuke Honda sits in the hole and is the anchor to all of Japan’s attacking play. With vision and skill, he forms a great partnership with Kagawa and Okazaki in behind the striker.
They can beat anyone on their day but they will have to put in three good performances in the space of 10 days to progress. The stumbling block could be fighting with Ivory Coast for second.
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