• Kyodo

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Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic will call up Augsburg forward Takashi Usami for this week’s friendly against Syria, the Japan Football Association said Monday.

The former Gamba Osaka man, who had loan spells at Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim between 2011 and 2013, returned to Germany ahead of this past season but was limited to 11 league appearances, failing to score.

Japan will host Syria at Ajinomoto Stadium on Wednesday before playing Iraq in Tehran on June 13 in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.

With three qualifiers remaining in the final round, Japan tops Group B with 16 points, ahead of Saudi Arabia on goal difference. Australia is third with 13, and the United Arab Emirates fourth with nine. Iraq has four points and Thailand has 1.

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