Zaccheroni names Japan squad for October friendlies
New Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni called up nine players from Europe for his first Japan squad for games against Argentina on October 8 at Saitama Stadium and against Korea Republic on October 12 at Seoul World Cup Stadium.
The Kirin Challenge Cup friendly against Argentina will be his first game in charge of the Samurai Blue after watching recent friendlies from the stands.
The 25-member squad features in-form attacker Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund, CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda, Leicester City midfielder Yuki Abe, Cesena defender Yuto Nagatomo and Lierse goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.
They were joined by Gamba Osaka’s Yasuhito Endo, Kawasaki Frontale’s Kengo Nakamura and Marcus Tulio Tanaka of Nagoya Grampus.
Two players won their first call-up: Vegalta Sendai forward Kunimitsu Sekiguchi and Shimizu S-Pulse midfielder Takuya Honda.
“In the last month, I tried to attend as many [J. League] games as I could to learn about the Japanese players,” Zaccheroni said.
“But in such a short period of time, it’s hard to get to know them all, and so I’ve decided to form the squad around the one we had for our two most recent matches.”
The Italian coach continued: “Since we will have 10 days to work together for these games, I will make full use of that period to get to know the players and establish good communication with them in order to form the foundation of our national team.”
The squad will start their preparations for these games soon.
Regarding Argentina and Korea Republic, Zaccheroni said, “I think they will come to play us with a wonderful team.
“Argentina have many players who play in Europe and know each other very well. They are one of the best sides in the world.
“I am studying Korea at the moment, but they have players with high individual quality. We should be careful.”
“We should respect our opponents, but there’s no need to be afraid of playing them,” the Japan boss noted.
Goalkeepers—Eiji Kawashima (Lierse SK), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders—Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Nagoya Grampus), Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama F. Marinos), Masahiko Inoha (Kashima Antlers), Yuto Nagatomo (Cesena), Tomoaki Makino (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Atsuto Uchida (FC Schalke 04)
Midfielders—Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Yuki Abe (Leicester City), Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Makoto Hasebe (VfL Wolfsburg), Takuya Honda (Shimizu S-Pulse), Hajime Hosogai (Urawa Reds)
Forwards—Daisuke Matsui (FC Tom Tomsk), Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Kunimitsu Sekiguchi (Vegalta Sendai), Shinji Okazaki (Shimizu S-Pulse), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Takayuki Morimoto (Catania), Mu Kanazaki (Nagoya Grampus), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund)
Coach—Alberto Zaccheroni (Italy)