Japan coach Philippe Troussier will take the Kirin Cup squad to Europe for next week’s friendly against Real Madrid but has called up Parma midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata and Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono for the friendly against Norway on May 14, the Japan Football Association announced Friday.
The European-based pair are unavailable for Tuesday’s game against the Spanish champions at the Bernabau Santiago with Nakata playing in the Copa Italia (on May 11) and Ono playing in the UEFA Cup final (on May 8) but will join the squad in Oslo in time for the May 14 clash.
“I didn’t pick Ono and Nakata (for the Real Madrid game) because they have very important club games, they will join us in Norway,” Troussier said.
However, Shimizu S-Pulse defender Ryuzo Morioka and Jubilo Iwata midfielder Hiroshi Nanami have been left out of the tour completely.
Morioka is still recovering from a hamstring injury though he may play for Shimizu in the remaining first round games of the Nabisco Cup.
Nanami, who played 90 minutes in Friday’s Nabisco Cup game for Jubilo, will also work on his match fitness by playing for his J. League club.
“I wanted to keep the group which has improved little by little and has gained confidence,” Troussier said in a statement released by the JFA.
“For the players who play in the Nabisco Cup, it’s important to keep their focus at the same level as the other national team players. I want them to keep trying to the very end. I want to see Morioka play in the Nabisco Cup.”
Troussier will announce his World Cup squad on May 17, a day after returning from the European tour.
“I will form the (World Cup) team based on their technique, mentality and tactical understanding,” Troussier stated.
Japan faces Belgium, Russia and Tunisia in the first round of the May 31-June 30 tournament.
The Japanese players for the European tour will get together on Saturday and leave for Spain on Sunday.
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