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14/11/2012

We have to win this six-pointer, says Zaccheroni

 Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Tuesday said his side’s match against Oman in Muscat on Wednesday – a final-round qualifying tie for the 2014 FIFA World Cup – was a six-pointer that Japan had to win.
 Japan currently lead Group B by five points over Australia and Oman.
“It’s going to be a very tough game,” Zaccheroni admitted. “Oman are trailing us with Australia and tomorrow’s game will be very important for us. It is a six-pointer for us, and we have to go for the win.”
 Although the Samurai Blue Japan beat the Omanis 3-0 in June at home, their opponents on Wednesday are unbeaten at home in their last six qualifiers.
 “Oman are a good side,” the Italian coach conceded. “They have good tactics, and we won last time thanks to our good preparation.”
Asked about the kickoff time of 3:30 p.m., Zaccheroni said, “I can’t comment much as I haven’t experienced a daytime game in the Middle East. The temperature is the only concern I have for the game. The quality of movement can be different from what you get in a night game.”
 Half of the Japan squad trained in Doha from Friday before moving to Muscat on Monday. The Europe-based players joined the squad on Monday night in Muscat following weekend games.
 “It’s true that we haven’t had much time for this game,” Zaccheroni said. “But we worked together last month and our players should remember what to do.”
 Japan will be without attacker Kagawa Shinji of Manchester United and defender Uchida Atsuto of Shalke as they are both injured. But Honda Keisuke of CSKA Moscow and in-form Kiyotake Hiroshi of Nurnberg are available. Forwards Okazaki Shinji of Stuttgart and Maeda Ryoichi of Jubilo Iwata have also returned after recovering from injury.
Asked about the tough playing conditions, Japan captain Hasebe Makoto of Wolfsburg said: “I don’t want to make excuses before the game. We worked together in September and October, and I don’t see any problem with our combination work.”
The match on Wednesday is to kick off at 3:30 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. Japan time).
 In the final-round qualifiers, the top two teams from two groups of five will win automatic qualification for the 2014 finals in Brazil, with the third-placed teams facing each other in a playoff to win the right to play the fifth-placed team of the South American zone for the final spot.