KOBE — Japan coach Philippe Troussier didn’t promise any more “surprises” for Thursday’s Kirin Cup match against Honduras at Kobe Wing Stadium, saying only that it was a practice match for the World Cup and he would be happy to win 1-0 with an own goal.
“I don’t know if I surprised everyone the other day,” he said Wednesday in reference to putting Atsushi Yanagisawa on the right wing and playing Shunsuke Nakamura in a central midfield role for most of Monday’s 1-0 win over Slovakia. “I would just like to take this game as normal preparation for the World Cup.”
Yanagisawa was ruled out of Thursday’s match as he has broken his hand, while Portsmouth goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was also ruled out as he is still recovering from a knee injury.
Troussier was asked about reports that he may take over the managerial post at Marseille, but the French boss refused to be drawn in.
“It’s a personal and private matter and has nothing to do with tomorrow’s game and the World Cup, so I can’t answer that question,” Troussier said.
About Thursday’s game against Honduras (7:20 p.m. kick off), Troussier said the players have to maintain their concentration.
“We have to stick with our game plan and what we’ve been practicing,” the manager emphasized. “The Honduras players are very tricky in a typical South American way and they have the ability to break through our defense.
“We have to counter their attack and play to our strengths.”
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