Yokohama F. Marinos midfielder Daisuke Oku and two of the four Europe-based players — Portsmouth goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi and Arsenal midfielder Junichi Inamoto — have been added to Japan’s Kirin Cup squad, national team coach Philippe Troussier announced Monday in Tokyo.
The Frenchman also said he will name the 23-string World Cup squad on May 17.
Oku returned to national squad for the first time since the friendly against Italy on Nov. 7. Kawaguchi, whose English Division One side completed the season on Sunday, and Inamoto will join their Japan teammates for the first time since a 2-0 win at Poland on March 27.
In the Kirin Cup, Japan will play Slovakia on April 29 at National Stadium in Tokyo and Honduras on May 2 at Kobe Wing Stadium.
Japan will then visit Real Madrid on May 7 in Madrid and Norway on May 14 in Oslo for more World Cup warmups. The players for the Spain-Norway tour will be announced on May 3.
Troussier said that 80 percent of the Kirin Cup squad will go to the World Cup. The remainder of the World Cup squad will include Parma midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata and Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono, both of whom are still playing for their clubs in Europe, and injured defender Ryuzo Morioka of Shimizu S-Pulse, with a few other players to be selected during the Nabisco Cup, he said.
The round-robin first round of the Nabisco Cup will be held from April 27 to May 12.
At the beginning of Monday’s news conference at the JFA headquarters, Troussier showed a video tape of last Wednesday’s Costa Rica game, a 1-1 draw, in his attempt to explain what he’s been trying to do with the team.
“Through the Costa Rica game, I was able to confirm how I’ll make my squad for the World Cup,” Troussier said.
“I’m satisfied with the game, our attack and the attitude of our players as they all fought hard to the very end, trying to beat our opponent. I’m convinced that we are on the right track.”
Troussier added that he had already decided on how to fill about 90 percent of the World Cup squad.
“In the two Kirin Cup games, we’ll play our style of game while each of us fulfills our tasks,” he said.
“As to the players who haven’t played much, I have to consider the fact that we need to check details of our team to fix the remaining 10 percent for the World Cup squad. I’ll also check how our players will adjust themselves to a group life.”
The Kirin Cup squad will travel to J. Village in Fukushima Prefecture on Thursday to prepare for the Slovakia game.
Meanwhile, the Japan Football Association announced that Japan and Shimizu S-Pulse defender Ryuzo Morioka will rehabilitate at J. Village in Fukushima from Tuesday, where the Japan’s Kirin Cup squad will train from Thursday through Saturday.
Morioka has been out of action since early last month after suffering a torn hamstring in the right thigh.
Goalkeepers — Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Portsmouth), Seigo Narazaki (Grampus Eight), Hitoshi Sogahata (Antlers).
Defenders — Toshihiro Hattori (Jubilo), Makoto Tanaka (Jubilo), Yasuhiro Hato (F. Marinos), Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Gamba), Naoki Matsuda (F. Marinos), Yuji Nakazawa (F. Marinos), Koji Nakata (Antlers).
Midfielders — Hiroaki Morishima (Cerezo), Daisuke Oku (F. Marinos), Takashi Fukunishi (Jubilo), Alessandro “Alex” Santos (S-Pulse), Kazuyuki Toda (S-Pulse), Tomokazu Myojin (Reysol), Shunsuke Nakamura (F. Marinos), Mitsuo Ogasawara (Antlers), Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal), Daisuke Ichikawa (S-Pulse).
Forwards — Takayuki Suzuki (Antlers), Akinori Nishizawa (Cerezo), Tatsuhiko Kubo (Sanfrecce), Atsushi Yanagisawa (Antlers), Yoshiteru Yamashita (Vegalta).
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