Japan’s 23-man roster for the 2014 soccer World Cup:

Defenders
Atsuto Uchida Maya Yoshida Yasuyuki Konno
Yuto Nagatomo Hiroki Sakai Gotoku Sakai
Masahiko Inoha Masato Morishige
Midfielders
Yasuhito Endo Makoto Hasebe Toshihiro Aoyama
Hotaru Yamaguchi
Forwards
Keisuke Honda Shinji Kagawa Shinji Okazaki
Hiroshi Kiyotake Manabu Saito Yuya Osako
Yoichiro Kakitani Yoshito Okubo
Goalkeepers
Eiji Kawashima Shusaku Nishikawa Shuichi Gonda

Eiji Kawashima

Club: Standard Liege (Belgium)
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 31
Hometown: Saitama Prefecture
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 82 kg
Took over as Japan’s No. 1 on the eve of the 2010 World Cup and has held the jersey ever since. Tall, commanding and athletic, Kawashima has picked up valuable European club experience since moving to Belgium in 2010.


Shusaku Nishikawa

Club: Urawa Reds
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 27
Hometown: Oita Prefecture
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 81 kg
Backup goalkeeper who moved from J. League champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima to Urawa Reds over the winter. Excellent shot-stopper who played for Japan at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and is now heading to his first World Cup.


Shuichi Gonda

Club: FC Tokyo
Position: Goalkeeper
Age: 25
Hometown: Tokyo
Height: 187 cm
Weight: 85 kg
Third-choice goalkeeper who joined FC Tokyo’s academy from elementary school and is one of the club’s spiritual leaders. Kept four clean sheets in Japan’s four opening games at the London Olympics before losing in the semifinals and missing out on a medal altogether.


Atsuto Uchicha

Club: Schalke (Germany)
Position: Defender
Age: 26
Hometown: Shizuoka Prefecture
Height: 176 cm
Weight: 62 kg
Highly rated right back who lost his starting place on the eve of the 2010 World Cup and did not play a single minute in South Africa. Has accrued huge experience in Germany with Champions League regulars Schalke and has been tipped for a move to a bigger club.


Maya Yoshida

Club: Southampton (England)
Position: Defender
Age: 25
Hometown: Nagasaki Prefecture
Height: 189 cm
Weight: 78 kg
First-choice center back whose place in the squad was jeopardized by a knee injury suffered in training with club side Southampton in March. Has struggled with form over the past year but is a trusted pillar of Zaccheroni’s side and is likely to start if fully fit.


Yasuyuki Konno

Club: Gamba Osaka
Position: Defender
Age: 31
Hometown: Miyagi Prefecture
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Versatile defender who compensates for a lack of height with excellent positional awareness and timing. Can also play in defensive midfield. Suffered a knee injury on the eve of the 2010 World Cup and played just two minutes in South Africa.


Yuto Nagatomo

Club: Inter Milan (Italy)
Position: Defender
Age: 27
Hometown: Ehime Prefecture
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Tireless, dynamic left back who has made huge strides since starting all four of Japan’s matches at the 2010 World Cup. Has made over 100 apearances for Inter Milan since joining the Italian giants in January 2011, and should be one of Japan’s key players in Brazil.


Hiroki Sakai

Club: Hannover (Germany)
Position: Defender
Age: 24
Hometown: Chiba Prefecture
Height: 185 cm
Weight: 70 kg
Powerful right back who shot to prominence in Kashiwa Reysol’s unexpected J. League title win in 2011. Has found success in Germany harder to come by but has gained much experience in a short time and could start if Uchida is not fully fit.


Gotoku Sakai

Club: Stuttgart (Germany)
Position: Defender
Age: 23
Hometown: New York
Height: 176 cm
Weight: 74 cm
New York-born son of Japanese and German parents who made his name with Albirex Niigata before joining Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga. Quiet and unflashy but effective, Sakai traveled with Japan for the 2010 World Cup as a non-squad development member.


Masahiko Inoha

Club: Jubilo Iwata
Position: Defender
Age: 28
Hometown: Miyazaki Prefecture
Height: 197 cm
Weight: 74 cm
Utility squad player whose versatility has likely won him his place in Brazil. Had a short stint in Croatia with Hajduk Spilt before returning to the J. League in 2012, but has been playing in the second division this season after being relegated with Jubilo Iwata last year.


Masato Morishige

Club: FC Tokyo
Position: Defender
Age: 26
Hometown: Hiroshima Prefecture
Height: 183 cm
Weight: 76 kg
Late bloomer who won his first cap at the East Asian Cup last year and has gone on to consolidate his place in the squad. Stylish, elegant defender who played in all three of Japan’s games at the 2008 Olympics and could start in Brazil if Yoshida does not fully recover in time.


Yasuhito Endo

Club: Gamba Osaka
Position: Mid-fielder
Age: 34
Hometown: Kagoshima Prefecture
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Japan’s record caps holder who is on his way to a third World Cup despite being an unused substitute in 2006. Languid deep-lying creator who was named Asian Player of the Year in 2009 and scored a superb free-kick goal against Denmark in Japan’s final group game at the 2010 World Cup.


Makoto Hasebe

Club: Nuremberg (Germany)
Position: Mid-fielder
Age: 30
Hometown: Shizuoka Prefecture
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Captain whose place in the squad had been in doubt after twice undergoing surgery on a knee injury this season. Neat, unfussy midfielder who won the German title with Wolfsburg in 2009 and took over from Yuji Nakazawa as Japan’s captain shortly before the 2010 World Cup.


Toshihiro Aoyama

Club: Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Position: Mid-fielder
Age: 28
Hometown: Okayama Prefecture
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Robust midfielder who played a crucial role in leading Sanfrecce Hiroshima to back-to-back J.League titles in the past two years. Named in the squad ahead of regular midfield backup Hajime Hosogai, and could see playing time coming off the bench in Brazil.


Hotaru Yamaguchi

Club: Cerezo Osaka
Position: Mid-fielder
Age: 23
Hometown: Mie Prefecture
Height: 173 cm
Weight: 72 kg
Rising star who made his debut at last year’s East Asian Cup and now looks set to displace either Endo or Hasebe in the starting lineup. Excellent all-rounder with drive, energy and a wide passing range who could win a move to Europe if he catches the eye in Brazil.


Keisuke Honda

Club: AC Milan (Italy)
Position: Forward
Age: 27
Hometown: Osaka Prefecture
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 74 kg
Star player who has struggled since moving to AC Milan in January but remains the figurehead around which the Japanese team is built. Strong and powerful with fantastic technique and vision, Honda will be looking to repeat the impact he made at the 2010 World Cup, where he was one of the players of the tournament.


Shinji Kagawa

Club: Manchester United (England)
Position: Forward
Age: 25
Hometown: Hyogo Prefecture
Height: 172 cm
Weight: 64 kg
Sublime talent who has yet to fully convince at Manchester United after two dazzling years in Germany with Borussia Dortmund. Starts on the left for Japan with Honda taking up the center. Will be determined to make his mark in Brazil after being left out of the squad four years ago.


Shinji Okazaki

Club: Mainz (Germany)
Position: Forward
Age: 28
Hometown: Hyogo Prefecture
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 76 kg
Tireless, at times ungainly worker who nevertheless has an exceptional strike rate for club and country. Guaranteed starter under Zaccheroni this summer after entering all four games as a substitute under Takeshi Okada four years ago.


Hiroshi Kiyotake

Club: Nuremberg (Germany)
Position: Forward
Age: 24
Hometown: Oita Prefecture
Height: 172 cm
Weight: 66 kg
Attacking midfielder whose star has waned slightly in recent months but still retains the full backing of Zaccheroni. Fast, direct and difficult to pin down, Kiyotake goes into the tournament having been relegated from the German first division with club side Nuremberg.


Manabu Saito

Club: Yokohama F. Marinos
Position: Forward
Age: 24
Hometown: Kanagawa Prefecture
Height: 169 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Exciting dribbler nicknamed “the Yokohama Messi” for his performances with hometown club Marinos. Seemingly on the verge of a move to Europe, Saito could make an impact coming off the bench in Brazil if Japan finds itself in need of a goal.


Yuya Osako

Club: 1860 Munich (Germany)
Position: Forward
Age: 23
Hometown: Kagoshima Prefecture
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Leggy striker once tipped for a place in Japan’s 2010 World Cup squad after emerging as a teenage high school striking prodigy. Has scored three goals in six international appearances so far, including one against the Netherlands in a 2-2 draw last November.


Yoichiro Kakitani

Club: Cerezo Osaka
Position: Forward
Age: 24
Hometown: Osaka Prefecture
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Current poster boy for the J. League who has nonetheless endured a difficult time in front of goal for Cerezo Osaka this season. Expected to move to Germany once the World Cup is over, Kakitani may start as Zaccheroni’s first-choice striker in Brazil.


Yoshito Okubo

Club: Kawasaki Frontale
Position: Forward
Age: 31
Hometown: Fukuoka Prefecture
Height: 170 cm
Weight: 73 kg
Feisty, prolific striker who made a late charge into the squad despite not previously being involved since February 2012. Started all four of Japan’s games at the 2010 World Cup but was substituted in each one. Has had spells at Real Mallorca in Spain and Wolfsburg in Germany.