Italian soccer legend Roberto Baggio has paid tribute to the strides Japan has made under manager Alberto Zaccheroni, but the former FIFA World Player of the Year has warned his compatriot not to expect an easy ride at this month's Confederations Cup.

Japan became the first team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after drawing 1-1 with Australia on Tuesday, with the Asian champions set to get a taste of what lies ahead when they travel to South America to face the host nation, Mexico and Italy in the first round of the June 15-30 Confederations Cup.

Baggio knows what it takes to compete at the highest level having played in three World Cups — including the glorious failure of missing the decisive penalty in the 1994 final shootout against Brazil — but the 46-year-old believes Japan can take heart from the improvements it has made since winning the Asian Cup just four months after Zaccheroni took charge in September 2010.