Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Sunday urged the whole country to get behind the team at the World Cup finals in Brazil as the Blue Samurai wrapped up their training camp in Kagoshima on Sunday.
Speaking in front of over 7,000 fans at a spectacular send-off event at Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, where the players’ squad numbers were announced, the Italian tactician said, “I want to say thank you to everyone who has attended this event.”
“I hope the Japanese nation will support us on our adventure I want you all to be proud of this team.”
Earlier in the day, captain Makoto Hasebe said the players had got the workout they needed looking ahead to the World Cup in Brazil.
Most of Sunday’s session at the camp, which has focused on physical strengthening and tactics, was closed to the media, with attacking variations from throw-ins being checked at the start of the day’s session.
“It has been a really hard camp but this is the training we need ahead of the World Cup,” said Hasebe.
Stuttgart defender Gotoku Sakai, who pulled out of training on Saturday with a right knee problem, worked out separately from the main group at the training facility.
Also on Sunday, the Japan Football Association signed a new deal with beverage maker and main sponsor Kirin through Dec. 31 2022, with Kirin becoming an official national team partner. The current sponsorship deal was to expire in April 1, 2015.
Japan host Cyprus at Saitama on Tuesday before flying off to the United States two days later for the second phase of camp in Florida, where they will tune up against Costa Rica and Zambia on June 2 and 6, respectively.
Japan’s first game at the World Cup is on June 14 against Ivory Coast in Recife, followed by games against Greece and Colombia.