• Kyodo News


Japan coach Takeshi Okada is set to take a fitness gamble on midfield maestro Shunsuke Nakamura in the national team’s final World Cup qualifying tuneup against Belgium on Sunday in the Kirin Cup.

Nakamura is nursing a niggling groin injury and only trained with the squad for the first time on Friday after sitting out Wednesday’s 4-0 defeat of Chile in the opening game of the three-nation Kirin tournament in Osaka.

But Okada said Saturday he will start Nakamura and will also play German-based striker Yoshito Okubo, who is fit after being laid low with a high fever.

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