Japan boss denies feud with Dutch counterpart

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The Independent Football

Japan coach Takeshi Okada insists he has no feud with his Holland counterpart ahead of tomorrow's World Cup Group E meeting against Durban.

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk admitted earlier today he did not recognise Okada the last time they met at the FIFA draw and mistook him for a federation executive.

"I am not close to Van Marwijk," Okada said. "I don't know him well.

"We have not been rivals in the past and this is not a personal match.

"I cannot pronounce properly the Dutch coach's surname but by that I don't mean any disrespect."

Okada showered Holland with praise but believes they can be beaten.

"Tomorrow we will be playing against a wonderful team, which is one of the favourites for the title," he said. "We are very happy to play this game.

"We realise this is a sophisticated team but we believe we have a chance to win tomorrow.

"We shouldn't feel small even though Holland have great name players in the team.

"We want to address this challenge with the overall power of this team."

Okada has reason to be upbeat as his side go into the game with a 1-0 victory over Cameroon in their World Cup opener.

"That win has given us a big boost in confidence," he said. "The players are focusing on playing with the same determination tomorrow."

Okada has not ruled out making tactical changes to the side that beat Cameroon.

"Our style of play will depend on how our rivals play against us," he said.

"What matters is the result, how we play is secondary.

"However, aggressive, hard work on attack and defence will be constant, we will never modify that strategy."

Japan know what to expect having met Holland in a friendly last September where the Dutch were frustrated for more than an hour before eventually winning 3-0.

"Last September, we had an opportunity to play against the Dutch and that was a big turning point for us," Okada added. "We hardly had opportunities before to play against world-class teams.

"That match led us to understand what the positives and negatives were on our team.

"We have been observing Holland since then and they have gained further maturity and improved as a team.

"We now have a Japanese style of playing although it doesn't mean that in terms of technique or skills, there has been an improvement.

"But we have been focusing on our strategy to beat the world-class teams."

Okada admitted he would be happy if his team went into the second half drawing 0-0.

"That would be satisfactory but what would even be greater would be to be leading at that point," he said.