• Kyodo

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German-based striker Yuki Nagasato was left out as Nadeshiko Japan manager Asako Takakura on Thursday named four uncapped players to her squad for the upcoming Algarve Cup in Portugal.

Nagasato, a veteran of Japan’s 2011 World Cup-winning and 2015 runner-up squads and part of the team that earned the 2012 Olympic silver medal has chosen club FFC Frankfurt over country, according to Takakura.

“There are some unknowns. including how the players would link up, but I’d like to … make them perform to their capabilities,” Takakura said.

The coach has not picked any players in their 30s for the squad for the March 1-8 tournament, but said age was not a factor in the selection process.

The four uncapped players who represented Japan at last year’s Women’s Under-20 World Cup are goalkeeper Chika Hirao and defender Hikaru Kitagawa (both Urawa Reds) and NTV Beleza midfielder Yui Hasegawa and striker Yuka Momiki.

“I want to see how much the new players can play,” Takakura said. “I’m not intent on giving them positions that easily. I want them to display possibilities.”

Japan opens its Algarve Cup group stage campaign against Spain on March 1 and faces Iceland two days later before taking on Norway on March 6. The classification match will be played on March. 8.

The Japan Football Association also announced Thursday that Nadeshiko Japan will play Holland in Breda on June 9 and Belgium in Leuven four days later.

“We wanted matchups with different type of teams. We’ll be facing good sides,” Takakura said.

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