• Kyodo


The Japan Football Association has chosen not to publicize its preliminary list of 35 players for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia after submitting their names to FIFA by the deadline early Tuesday.

Several countries released their preliminary lists following the May 14 deadline in Zurich, while some, including Brazil, have already named their final 23-man squads for the June 14 to July 15 tournament.

Samurai Blue head coach Akira Nishino on Monday told a meeting of Japan’s World Cup delegation that he had picked the 35 players.

Nishino indicated that he had named Pachuca’s Keisuke Honda, seen as being at risk of missing out, as well as Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa and Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki, who are both returning from long injury layoffs, and would decide their fate at the domestic training camp late this month.

“It’s too soon to make a decision right now. I want to assess their condition over the month,” said Nishino, who took the reins following the shock firing of predecessor Vahid Halilhodzic in April.

Longtime captain Makoto Hasebe and other Samurai Blue mainstays were also included, according to official sources.

FIFA’s deadline for naming the 23-man squad for the tournament is June 4.

FIFA’s deadline for naming the 23-man squad for the tournament is June 4.

The JFA plans to announce a squad of about 30 players Friday in the lead-up to Japan’s May 30 friendly against Ghana at Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium. The match will be the Samurai Blue’s last on home soil before departing for the World Cup.

The JFA is expected to name the final squad on May 31.

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