Milan’s Keisuke Honda and Inter’s Yuto Nagatomo have been named in Alberto Zaccheroni’s 23-man Japan squad for the World Cup.
The Serie A based duo are regulars under the Italian tactician and are both in his final selection announced today to head out to Brazil this summer.
“It was a struggle to get the list down to 23,” Zaccheroni has commented in presenting his squad.
“I wanted to call up Sepp Blatter and ask him to let me pick more. But this group of players knows how I want them to play tactically and understands the team ethic.
“Honda, we know, has the character and power to grab the team by the scruff of the neck. We hope he can do the same again.”
Japan World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege/BEL), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders: Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan/ITA), Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke/GER), Maya Yoshida (Southampton/ENG), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96/GER), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart/GER)
Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Makoto Hasebe (Nuremberg/GER), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan/ITA), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United/ENG)
Forwards: Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale), Shinji Okazaki (Mainz/GER), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nurnberg/GER), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F-Marinos), Yuya Osako (1860 Munich/GER)
The Japanese will face Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia in Group C of the competition, with winners and runners-up from that group facing off against runners-up and winners from Italy’s Group D in the Round of 16.