RUSTENBURG - Keisuke Honda scored one
goal and made another in a scintillating performance for Japan
on Thursday but said he was not satisfied with guiding his team
into the last 16 at the World Cup finals.
Honda's left foot worked like a magic wand at times in
Japan's 3-1 victory against Denmark in their final Group E
But, he said, he was not as happy as he expected to feel,
before adding that this dazzling Japan side, which produced
spells of superbly fluent soccer has a lot further to go in this
"I am not as jubilant as I had expected because we are not
finished," he said. "We have to go further, step by step. We can
be the team that continues this way."
Honda, 24, proved both he and Japan have the potential to
make an impact with a devastatingly skilful display as the Asian
side claimed a place in the second round on foreign soil for the
He opened the scoring with a stunning 30-metres free kick
and, after Yasuhito Endo had scored from another excellent free
kick, laid on Japan's third for substitute striker Shinji
Okazaki after the Danes had replied through Jon Dahl Tomasson.
"This is a big win for Japan," he said. "Our coach told us
today not to concentrate on defence but to attack and that
attitude gave us confidence.
"I talked to him (Okazaki) before the game and together we
said that we would both score. So tonight, of course, we are
Having come into the tournament on the back of a poor run of
results, Japan have emerged as one of the surprise sides and
coach Takeshi Okada said he would prepare for more success when
they face Paraguay in Pretoria next Tuesday.
"This is not the end and we will focus again on what we can
achieve," said Okada, who told his players before the tournament
to aim for the semi-finals. "We will be ready to face Paraguay."
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