Japan's 1-0 World Cup
qualifying defeat at home to a second-string Uzbekistan will
give the Asian champions a timely wake-up call, defender Yuto
Nagatomo said on Thursday.
"I think it was a good thing that we got beaten here," the
Inter Milan full-back told local media.
"If we'd won easily we might have gone into the final round
of qualifiers less motivated. It's important to learn from this
and to reset the focus."
Uzbekistan, weakened by suspensions to five key players,
finished six points clear of Japan at the top of Group C after
Wednesday's upset in freezing Toyota.
The draw for the fourth round takes place on March 9.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni defended his decision not to
use Arsenal winger Ryo Miyaichi, currently on loan at Premier
League rivals Bolton Wanderers, as a substitute despite jeers
after the final whistle.
"It wasn't the right time to use Miyaichi," said the
Italian, who had said before the game the 19-year-old would play
a part after giving him his first Japan call-up.
"To use a young player for the first time, all the
components have to be right," he added. "It just wasn't enough
time to get him up to speed tactically in that situation."
Most observers believed an insipid Japan performance was
crying out for Miyaichi's injection of pace, however.
"I thought I could get in behind their defence and maybe
change things If I got on," said Miyaichi before leaving Japan
for Bolton's visit to Manchester City at the weekend.
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