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Given the empty rhetoric that has come to characterize his reign as national team manager, it was no surprise to hear Takeshi Okada attempting to put a positive spin on Japan’s dismal 0-0 draw with China last weekend.

Having watched his team limp to a second scoreless draw inside the space of a week against a country that has failed to reach this summer’s World Cup, Okada praised his side’s “improvement” and focused on chances created rather than chances ultimately spurned.

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