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06/06/2010

Japan’s World Cup squad arrive at camp

Japan’s World Cup squad arrived at their training camp in George, South Africa, on Sunday afternoon and held a light training session in the evening.

On their arrival, the squad received a warm welcome from the people of this southern coast city in the Western Cape – including Mayor Mercia Draghoender and local children clad in blue tops.
Midfielder Yasuhito Endo said, “Now we’re here, I really feel we are about to start the World Cup.”
Midfielder Shusuke Nakamura was happy with the facilities and environment of the team hotel, as well as the training ground. “I think we can have good preparation here,” the Yokohama F. Marinos player said after his side’s first workout.
With a week remaining before Japan’s opening game against Cameroon on June 14, coach Takeshi Okada delivered a speech to his players, saying, “We must brace ourselves to work on our preparation during this coming week.”
Asked how his side’s preparations have gone so far, Okada replied, “I know some people voiced concerns after we lost successive warm-up games, but I knew that might happen.
“We could have played weaker sides, but I wanted our players to realize we would be up against strong sides like those in the World Cup.
“It’s natural that you can’t attack as much as you can against Asian sides, but we didn’t forget the fundamentals of our team [in the games against England and Ivory Coast].”
Referring to how much left they have to do, the Japan boss added, “We probably have this much left,” making a small gap between his thumb and first finger. “If we can make a quick switch from defense to offense, that will help us change the pace of the game.”
Japan defender Yasuyuki Konno trained separately after picking up a knee ligament injury in the game against Ivory Coast.
Playing in Group E in the World Cup, Japan will meet Cameroon on June 14 in Bloemfontein, the Netherlands on June 19 in Durban and Denmark on June 24 in Rustenburg.