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Alberto Zaccheroni talked of Japan’s “potential” when he was unveiled as national team manager last Tuesday, and the Italian’s first glimpse of his new charges can only have reinforced that impression.

Japan has chalked up friendly wins against Paraguay and Guatemala over the past week in a first return to action since the World Cup, with JFA technical director Hiromi Hara filling in for Zaccheroni while the visa-less former AC Milan manager watched from the stands. Hara’s intention was to give the new man food for thought, and with 20 players on show over the two games there was plenty for him to digest.

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