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Japan vs Bosnia: Pre-Game Update
With the way the NT has been simulating everything for the World Cup, I'm starting to finally feel like the World Cup is a reality. Up until now, it felt like an abstract concept, but now no more dreaming, it's real and it's closing in...!

The simulation was done from start to finish -- the National team landed in Bonn and were whisked off by a bus just as they deplaned, no going through the immigration process. I mentioned before that the accomodations have all the usual facilities required (pool, etc., and the players are relieved to find internect connection), and the training ground and everything else is all done as if it were the World Cup. The usual NT chefs and nutritionist are also simulating their menus and shopping around Bonn for ingredients that they need (there are many Japanese foods available there, so they won't have to carry much over).


Of course, there are some things that cannot be simulated -- like the weather. And knowing this team, it is almost inevitable that smooth plans would be thwarted by a healthy amount of snow. As Zico joked to the media, we've seen it all -- typhoon, planes being delayed, earthquakes, torrents, blackouts, and no-spectator games... now snow. Hopefully there will be none of that at the game tomorrow.

It is too bad because today was the only day in which the entire team was at practice (most from Urawa and Gamba rested back at the pool yesterday with the physical therapist, and the 4 remaining Europe-based players only joined the team today). But that is life, and though there was some possibility of moving the practice indoors, Zico decided to just have their training session outside anyway, and after doing some drills, the squad was aplit into starters and bench for a mini-game.

The starting formation will probably look like this:

------- Takahara - Kubo
---- Ogasawara ---- Nakamura
------- Fukunishi - Hide
Alex - Nakazawa - Miyamoto - Kaji
----------- Kawaguchi

So I was right about Kubo (not a tough call there) but wrong about Hide.

It sounds like Zico is bringing together the Confederations Cup group with Kubo in for Yanagisawa. But it is the last chance for the European players to come together, so don't worry I'm sure Zico will make substitutions. As much as I want to see everyone play, it's senseless to throw everyone in willy nilly, and it is probably more important to see what kind of balance and chemistry can be maintained/created. Of course Zico always goes for the win, so the substitutions will also depend on how the game unfolds.

The general atmosphere in the team is good, with emphasis on using the valuable game time to seek out strengths and weaknesses, make adjustments, and play with focus on unified movement. It's my birthday tomorrow, and I am hoping they will give an elegant and winning performance.
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