YOKOHAMA — Japan will stick to its own brand of soccer in seeking a win against Russia in Sunday’s crucial Group H game in Yokohama, Japan coach Philippe Troussier said Saturday.

“After earning a point from the Belgium game, we have our destiny in our own hands. Against Russia, it’s important not to lose,” Troussier said in a news conference in Yokohama on Saturday.

Russia leads Group H with three points following its 2-0 win over Tunisia, while Japan stands on one point, along with with Belgium, after their 2-2 draw Tuesday.

If it wins, Russia will book its spot in the Round of 16, while Japan’s hopes of advancing would become very slim. A draw would leave the cohost still firmly in the race.

“It’s going to be a very difficult game tomorrow,” Troussier said.

“They have nothing to be afraid of, so that they don’t need to play defensively. They will go into the game with a strong determination to decide it (the qualification for the next round). They will be at their best.”

But the Frenchman said his side won’t be playing for a draw.

“If everything was set for sure, so that we would draw with Russia and beat Tunisia, we could think about a scenario of that kind. But you can’t expect that in soccer.

“The only teams, if any, that can play for a draw, are Italy, Germany and France. But Japan has not yet reached that level.”

Troussier, who has studied his team’s next opponents well, said the Russian players have top-level European league experience and play aggressively, with playmaker Alexander Mostovoi pivotal.

He hinted that he may not change his starting team against the Russians, except in the event of injury.

The Japan boss disclosed that Ryuzo Morioka’s availability is not certain, as the Shimizu S-Pulse defender has not fully recovered from a leg injury that he picked up during the Belgium game.

Hidetoshi Nakata suffered a sprained ankle during the game but is likely to be “100 percent fit” for Sunday, Troussier added.

Troussier swept aside suggestions that the Japanese defense, which conceded two goals to the Belgians, might be somewhat leaky, saying: “Nobody is perfect. It’s important to believe in ourselves.”

He noted that his team needs to take risks in defense if they want to play their brand of aggressive soccer.

“We have a team that has worked for four years with our philosophy and our approach. We have collective work. We have backup (from our fans). I’m sure this is enough for us to sort out a panic situation. All of our players will do their best,” Troussier stressed.

Russia coach Oleg Romantsev said of Japan: “They have speed and are alert and agile. We cannot be satisfied with a draw against them.”

Romantsev said Mostovoi and midfielder Alexei Smertin are not fully fit but indicated he will play them against Japan.

“I’m not quite sure yet if they can play for the full time, but they are very experienced players, but having them on the pitch can positively influence our team,” Romantsev noted.

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