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Bonn Camp: Day 1 & 2
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may27.06_deplane.jpgThe Japan World Cup squad deplaned in Germany on Friday, welcomed by a group of Japanese school children. They got on a bus and proceeded to the Bonn hotel with a police escort. They were greeted at Bonn by a small group of local fans as well as the media.

The next day, the energy was good despite the time difference, and the team proceeded to go through the morning and afternoon trainings. The training grounds they are using are the training facilities for the local football club SC Bonn. A total of 300 people watched the practice -- media as well as regular fans. It was the first time I think that all 23 players attended a practice all at one time -- at the domestic camp, we had some late stragglers and others missed portions of the main training due to injuries.

They dove right into the thick of things with defensive work on set pieces as well as the usual training routine.

Zico starts the practice warming up the body
Nakamura kicks the FK Kawaguchi and Nakazawa block Maki's shot

On Sunday, the group gathered for afternoon training, which included what Japanese call a "red-white game". In other words an intra-team game using the full pitch, not a minigame. One side consisted of what we expect will be the starters for the game against Australia, and the other side were made up of those expected to start on the bench. The practice game resulted in exposing some differences in strategy among the players, and it will become very important for the team to decide on their course of action.

Takahara, Nakamura, Miyamoto discuss strategy

L to R: Tsuboi, Ogasawara, Doi, Hide, Ono, Oguro having a laugh Yanagisawa getting egged under Tanaka's attack while Koji runs for cover

It was forward Atsushi Yanagisawa's 29th birthday, and the team "congratulated" him in the traditional Brazilian style -- by attacking him with raw eggs and flour.

Zico had recruited Tita and Junior (photo below) to do the scouting work for the Japan team -- these two have been traveling the globe in the past six months gathering information on opponent teams and attending opponents' games. They arrived at the Bonn camp and met the Japan team for the first time, observing the Sunday practice. The details of their findings are obviously not going to be disclosed.

Junior & Tita may28.06_GJAMPS.jpg
The media is prepared as well. If you see this big blue Japan Blue facade, it means you have arrived at GJAMPS -- the offical media center (media headquarters) for the Japan National Team.
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