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In the end it was simply a matter of fine-tuning for national team manager Takeshi Okada as he named a familiar squad for the World Cup on Monday. Of the few rabbits he did pull out of the hat, however, Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi should be regarded as anything but a sentimental choice.

Kawaguchi, Okada’s No. 1 goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup and a member of every finals squad since, had not been called up for international duty since January 2009 and has been absent for his club, Jubilo Iwata, ever since breaking a leg in September last year.

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