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Japan Football: Zaccheroni, Samurai Blue, and general J chatter
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Ladies and Gentlemen...
I present to you, the

2006 World Cup Japan National Football Squad:

Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, Jubilo Iwata
Seigo Narazaki, Nagoya Grampus
Yoichi Doi, FC Tokyo

Makoto Tanaka, Jubilo Iwata
Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, Gamba Osaka
Akira Kaji, Gamba Osaka
Alex Santos, Urawa Reds
Keisuke Tsuboi, Urawa Reds
Yuji Nakazawa, Yokohama F Marinos
Yuuichi Komano, Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Koji Nakata, FC Basel

Takashi Fukunishi, Jubilo Iwata
Mitsuo Ogasawara, Kashima Antlers
Shinji Ono, Urawa Reds
Hidetoshi Nakata, Bolton
Shunsuke Nakamura, Celtic
Junichi Inamoto, West Bromwich
Yasuhito Endo, Gamba Osaka

Keiji Tamada, Nagoya Grampus
Atsushi Yanagisawa, Kashima Antlers
Masashi Oguro, Grenoble
Naohiro Takahara, (Hamburg SV, but just tranfered to Frankfurt)
Seiichiro Maki, Jef United Chiba

For the most part, this list was the predicted outcome by almost every football fan.

However, as usual in every World Cup announcement, there was one completely unexpected selection: that of Seiichiro Maki over Tatsuhiko Kubo for the forward position. As you know, Kubo is the top scorer in Zico Japan, and that happening despite the fact that he played in relatively fewer games than many of the other forwards. He is considered, in his top form, the best that Japan has to offer in terms of dynamism in front of goal, body balance, and is considered one of few true "strikers". However, after his injury in 2004, that occured just before the Asia Cup, he has been unable to free himself of chronic fitness/injury issues. Though Zico has been most persistent in calling him up to the squad, it was apparent in last week's Kirin Cup matches (he did not play against Bulgaria and looked far from fighting form against Scotland) that it would be unlikely that he could get himself up to true form within the next few weeks. The chonic nature of his mulitple woes made it unlikely that he would make a miraculous full recovery in time for WC play. For this reason, Zico explained, Kubo was taken off the list. Kubo was gracious about his obvious disappointment at not being selected; he kept his comments characteristically brief, but faced the media with a good attitude.

In Kubo's place, Maki got the call-up. And deservedly. Maki has been well aware that his chances at the World Cup squad were close to nil. Despite that, he showed an inspiring spirit of dogged persistence during his appearances this year. He will undoubtedly make life a lot easier for whomever he partners with up front should he get the opportunity to play. Maki's top item on his to-do list is to establish relationships with the players who play in Europe, as he has yet to stand on the same pitch with the likes of Hide, Taka and Shunsuke.

Aside from the Kubo surprise, it was also noted that Daisuke Matsui was missing from the list. Personally, you all know that I was really gunning for Matsui. Zico explained that in his mind the choice was between lefty speed dribbler forward Tamada or dribbling magic-maker Matsui. He opted for Tamada. It was extremely telling that Zico decided on placing 5 forwards in his list at the expense of a creative midfielder. Both Matsui and Tamada can show with their dribbling, but given the overall contribution/experience factor in terms of the National team, and perhaps also the expectation that we needed more options in the forwards group, he went with Tamada.

I was wondering if Yanagisawa would be cut from the squad because he is still not ready to play after the broken bone in his foot that occured a month ago. There was a Nabisco game played yesterday, and Yanagisawa was not even on the bench. I am uncertain how fast Yanagisawa will make his way back to game-readiness.

The team will gather on May 17 for the domestic training camp; on the 26th, they will arrive in Germany. After that, they will have two friendlies against Malta and Germany.

Then, it's game time.

I will return on Wednesday with a discussion of all the players, some interesting stories, and how we hope for them to contribute to the team's success. I would also like to quickly review the history of Japan at the WC, to give you an idea of the general progression of the nature and growth of the Japanese national team over the past 3 WCs to set the backdrop.

I will then try and provide you all with as much chatter, photos, etc, about how the team is doing in practice and in the two remaining friendlies.

I am filled with excitement and pride for these men. So many stories converging at this one point in time. No looking back now.
Comment On This Entry


巻は本当に時々とんでもない事するから、いくら彼の紙上の情報が漏れても関係ないような気がします。この間の試合の直接フリーキックの時飛んでキーパーを驚かしてたように。パスを頭でしたり。好きですね、彼のそのきれいじゃないところ。この代表はとても「きれい」なので、巻みたいのがいると別だけれど同じく良い意味での「意外」をチームに持ってくるんではないか -


2006/05/18(木) 02:37:15 | URL | depflight #-[ Edit]
2006/05/18(木) 01:55:52 | | #[ Edit]
to tell the truth
i'm a big fan of MAKI!



2006/05/18(木) 01:11:46 | URL | スイカ #-[ Edit]
2006/05/16(火) 20:25:57 | | #[ Edit]
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