• Kyodo News


Urawa Reds teenage midfielder Naoki Yamada and Sanfrecce Hiroshima defender Tomoaki Makino received their first call-ups to the Japan squad when 26 members were announced Thursday for the remaining three World Cup qualifiers.

One win away from a fourth consecutive appearance at the World Cup finals, manager Takeshi Okada named five European-based players, led by Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura and Saint-Etienne midfielder Daisuke Matsui.

VVV Venlo midfielder Keisuke Honda and Kashima Antlers forward Shinzo Koroki will return to the national team, while Urawa striker Tatsuya Tanaka has been left out because of an injured left thigh.

Gamba Osaka defender Satoshi Yamaguchi has been called up for the first time since Okada took over in December 2007.

Japan will play Chile in Osaka on Wednesday and Belgium in Tokyo four days later in the three-nation Kirin Cup, after a training camp in Osaka from Monday.

Japan will then travel to Uzbekistan for the third-to-last World Cup qualifier on June 6, followed by matches at home to Qatar on June 10 and away to Australia on June 17.

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