Japanese National Football Team
Japan enter their fourth World Cup on the back of a comfortable - if unspectacular - qualifying campaign where they came up short in their matches against Australia in the final phases. With former Roma midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata now retired, Shunsuke Nakamura takes over his mantle as Japan's player to watch. A gifted playmaker and dead-ball specialist, Nakamura - now plying his trade in the J-League for Yokohama Marinos - will be responsible for making sure Shinji Okazaki gets the kind of supply to allow him to continue the prolific form that sees him averaging over a goal every other game for the Samurai Blue. Captain Yuji Nakazawa will need to draw on his wealth of international experience to guide his team through a tough Group E also featuring Holland, Cameroon and Denmark.
Japan National Football Team Merchandise
When there are no games to watch on the TV, you may feel like a game yourself. For those World Cup inspired kickabouts, here's the kit you'll need.
Japanese Football Legends
It's a straight fight between Hidetoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura for the title of Japan's greatest player. An influential midfielder for Italian giants AS Roma , Nakata won the Scudetto with the Giallorossi in 2001 and played in Italy's Serie A for seven years. Nakata was an aggressive tackler with good distribution. He retired at the age of 29 after a spell at Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League. Shunsuke Nakamura played in Scotland for Celtic where he became a firm favourite with the fans for his ability at set-pieces. Possessing great touch and vision, Nakamura will be essential to Japan's attacking threat at this World Cup. Whether he can perform on the biggest stage of all will be key to cementing his reputation as one of Japan's best ever players.
|Shunsuke Nakamura and Hidetoshi Nakata|
Shunsuke Nakamura is Japan's main attacking threat and will be the key to unlocking some of the world's best defences.
Hidetoshi Nakata is arguably the most successful Japanese player ever after a successful career in Europe.