YOKOHAMA — Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura’s hopes of playing a significant role in the World Cup squad have lessened, Japan coach Philippe Troussier hinted Tuesday ahead of the Costa Rica game slated for Wednesday night at International Stadium Yokohama.

Troussier said he has three groups in mind that will form his 23-man World Cup squad. The first group is made up of 13-14 players, who will be competing for positions in the starting line-up. The second group consists of players who are likely to be called from the bench in order to have an impact on the game. The third group will be made up of one or two players who, Troussier said, will probably have little chance of playing. Troussier said Nakamura is in the second group.

“Nakamura is the 15th player but if I play someone for the last 10 to 15 minutes in a game, (Kashima Antlers midfielder Masashi) Motoyama may be a better option than Nakamura,” Troussier said.

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