Zaccheroni leaves door open for Tulio

Kyodo

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni has said he will pick his World Cup 23 from a list of 63 players — and it could include Nagoya Grampus defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka.

Tulio, alongside Yokohama F. Marinos’ Yuji Nakazawa, was instrumental in Japan’s march to the second round at the last World Cup in South Africa.

But Tulio has essentially been overlooked by Zaccheroni for reasons the Italian has never specified, and calls from the public for the return of the Brazilian-born 32-year-old continue to be strong.

However during a talk show with 130 fans at JFA House on Sunday, Zaccheroni hinted Tulio is still in the argument for a World Cup place when a Grampus supporter implored the manager to select the center half next summer.

“There are 63 players who are being considered for the national team,” Zaccheroni said. “It’s down to them from now until the World Cup to see who can produce the better performances.

“All the good players from Japan are in the 63. They just need to stay fit and keep playing well. And Tulio is a good player.”