Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa added to Japan squad
AC Milan midfielder Keisuke Honda also called up by Alberto Zaccheroni
Thursday 27 February 2014
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni added AC Milan playmaker Keisuke Honda and Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa to his squad on Thursday for next month's World Cup warmup match against New Zealand in Tokyo.
Injuries to captain Makoto Hasebe and Schalke's Atsuto Uchida prompted Zaccheroni to recall Jubilo Iwata defender Yuichi Komano and Sanfrecce Hiroshima's Toshihiro Aoyama in the 23-member squad for the March 5 encounter.
Kashiwa Reysol striker Masato Kudo also returned to the side for Japan's last match at the National Stadium before it is rebuilt for the 2020 Olympic Games.
The Tokyo game will also be New Zealand's first of the year.
"New Zealand are a physical team and will be good opponents," Kyodo news agency quoted Zaccheroni as saying.
"I want to check on all the things we have been doing over the last three years.
"The last game for us (in Japan before the World Cup) is in May so March will be very important."
Japan play Cyprus on May 27 before leaving for World Cup in Brazil where they are the lowest-ranked side drawn in Group C which also has Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia.
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart)
Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Hajime Hosogai (Hertha Berlin), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremberg), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F Marinos), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka)
Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Masato Kudo (Kashiwa Reysol), Yuya Osako (1860 Munich)
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