Wigan Athletic striker Ryo Miyaichi has been recalled for Japan’s upcoming World Cup qualifying warmups away to France and five-time world champion Brazil as the Japan Football Association announced a 23-man squad on Thursday.
Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa, CSKA Moscow’s Keisuke Honda and Takashi Inui, who has been in good form with three goals so far this season for Eintracht Frankfurt, were also named to the squad that will play France in Paris on Oct. 12 and Brazil in Wrocklaw, Poland, four days later.
Miyaichi, on loan to Wigan from Arsenal, returns to the fold and gets the chance to win his second cap having been left out of the squad that beat the United Arab Emirates 1-0 in a friendly in Niigata last month before edging Zico’s Iraq by the same scoreline in their fourth match of the final round of qualifiers for Brazil 2014.
Defenders Yuzo Kurihara, Atsuto Uchida and Yasuyuki Konno are back after missing the Iraq game through suspension.
The matches against France and Brazil provide the kind of precious away tests coach Alberto Zaccheroni has been hoping for as Japan aims to make its fifth consecutive World Cup finals.
The Asian champions, who are six points clear at the top of Group B, play their next qualifier away to Oman on Nov. 14.
Japan and France have played five times with Les Bleus undefeated in five matches. France won 2-1 the last time the two teams met at the 2003 Confederations Cup in Saint-Etienne.
Japan has also yet to beat the Brazilians at the full international level, although it came close to pulling off a massive upset with a 2-2 draw at the Confederations Cup in Germany in June 2005.
In the last meeting between the two teams in their final group stage game at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Keiji Tamada fired Japan in front, but their elimination from the competition was sealed after crashing to a 4-1 defeat in Dortmund.
Goalkeepers — Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders — Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka) Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama F Marinos), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover)
Midfielders — Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Bayer Leverkusen), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo)
Forwards — Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse Arnhem), Takashi Inui (Eintracht Frankfurt), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremberg), Ryo Miyaichi (Wigan Athletic)