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National team manager Alberto Zaccheroni admits the importance of making a strong start to the final round of qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup was weighing on his players’ mind ahead of Sunday’s 3-0 win over Oman.

Japan laid down an impressive marker in its bid to reach a fifth successive World Cup in front of a Saitama Stadium-record crowd of 63,551, with star player Keisuke Honda breaking the deadlock after 11 minutes before Ryoichi Maeda and Shinji Okazaki made the game safe early in the second half.

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