• Kyodo News


France-based midfielder Daisuke Matsui on Friday won his first national team callup under Ivica Osim for Japan’s upcoming friendlies away to Euro 2008 cohosts Austria and Switzerland. The Le Mans star, who netted his first goal of the season in last week’s defeat to Monaco, returns for the first time since February last year while 2002 World Cup hero Junichi Inamoto is also back in the fold after missing the Asian Cup in July. Coach Osim has not named any strikers in his preliminary 19-man party for the Sept. 3-13 trip and is expected to add four or five names to the squad after Saturday’s J. League matches. Celtic playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura, who missed the recent 2-0 win over Cameroon, was picked while there were also recalls for JEF United Chiba midfield duo Naotake Hanyu and Satoru Yamagishi, Kawasaki Frontale goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima and Urawa Reds defender Keisuke Tsuboi. “I’ve called up the backbone of the Asian Cup squad because I don’t feel there is any need to tinker too much,” said Osim. “I believe in the ability of the midfield and defensive players but there is still room for improvement.” Japan plays host Austria in Klagenfurt on Sept. 7 before taking on the Swiss at the same venue four days later. Switzerland and Austria are also scheduled to play Chile in Vienna on Sept 7 and 11, respectively.

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