World Cup Football Boots: Japan
Fifa Ranking: 45
Path Ahead of the World Cup
Japan automatically qualified for the 2010 FIFA World Cup automatically, finishing second to Australia in the Asia qualifying group, although they didn’t do it spectacularly. A 3-2 away win over Bahrain was the only game in the qualifiers in which Japan scored more than one goal, with the rest of their points coming from 1-0 wins and draws.
Shunsuke Nakamura and Keisuke Honda
Nakamura is a name that will be familiar to European football fans, as he became something of a cult hero in his time at Celtic. Established as technically gifted midfielder with a sweet left foot, Nakamura is a threat with crosses and set-pieces for the Samurai Blues.
Keisuke Honda is unconventional footballing hero, who is probably most famous for his incredible ‘No-Spin’ Freekick videos on YouTube. But that’s not to say he’s a one trick pony. Plying his trade at CSKA Moscow, Honda has proven himself a dedicated workman with an excellent touch and an eye for a finish.
Japan’s head coach Takeshi Okada has been overtly critical of his Japan squad, claiming there is a shortage of Strikers and it’s very difficult for any 11 of his players to get goals. Because of this attitude, expect Japan to go one extreme or the other – playing an all out attack with 3 forwards, or a 4-5-1 that will allow his midfielders to try and get goals and break up play.
Prediction: Good enough to get out the group, but not past the round of 16