TOKYO - Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on
Friday named 11 overseas-based players in his 25-man squad for
home friendlies against Peru and the Czech Republic on June 1
CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and Inter Milan defender Yuto
Nagatomo are among those who will play in Japan's first full
internationals since the deadly earthquake and tsunami on March
"We only have three more matches before the start of the
World Cup qualifiers (in September)," Zaccheroni told reporters.
"So these two games are very important. Results are
important but more relevant is the development of the team.
"Both the Czech Republic and Peru are aggressive and fight
hard. These games will toughen us up," added the Italian, who is
set to blood 19-year-old Gamba Osaka striker Takashi Usami.
"(Usami) is an Olympic player and has excellent potential.
For a 19-year-old he already has a lot of ability."
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa is the only
notable absentee after recently recovering from a fractured
metatarsal suffered at the Asian Cup in January.
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech will travel to Japan for the
tri-nation Kirin Cup tournament despite fears over the nuclear
crisis north of Tokyo.
Montenegro and New Zealand both pulled out of friendly
internationals against the Asian champions at the end of March
citing potential health risks posed by stricken power plant.
"At the beginning everyone was concerned," Cech told
Japanese media. "But we have got all the (safety) guarantees."
Japan had wanted to use the Kirin Cup as a tune-up for their
appearance at July's Copa America until they were forced to pull
out as team's refused to release players.
The Blue Samurai face Peru in Niigata on June 1, the Czech
Republic play the South Americans three days later, before Japan
and the Czechs meet in Yokohama on June 7.
The disaster, which ravaged north-east Japan and ripped
through a nuclear plant 150 miles north of Tokyo, has plunged
sport into chaos across the country.
Despite Japanese assurances, several foreign teams and
athletes have refused to travel to Japan because of fears over
the risk of exposure to radiation.
Goalkeepers - Eiji Kawashima (Lierse), Masaaki Higashiguchi
(Niigata), Shusaku Nishikawa (Hiroshima).
Defenders - Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Yuzo Kurihara
(Yokohama), Masahiko Inoha (Kashima), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter
Milan), Tomoaki Makino (Cologne), Michihiro Yasuda (Vitesse
Arnhem), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Maya Yoshida (Venlo).
Midfielders - Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Makoto Hasebe
(VfL Wolfsburg), Kosei Shibasaki (Kawasaki), Ryota Moriwaki
(Hiroshima), Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg), Akihiro Ienaga
(Mallorca), Daigo Nishi (Kashima).
Forwards - Ryoichi Maeda (Iwata), Tadanari Lee (Hiroshima),
Kunimitsu Sekiguchi (Sendai), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart),
Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Shinzo Koroki (Kashima), Takashi
Usami (Gamba Osaka).
Berlin will stage Champions League final for the first time in 2015
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010