TOKYO (AP) — Japan coach Takeshi Okada selected four Europe-based players for his 23-man World Cup roster.
Keisuke Honda of Russia's CSKA Moscow, Makoto Hasebe of Germany's Wolfsburg, Daisuke Matsui of France's Grenoble and Italy's Takayuki Morimoto were called up along with former Glasgow Celtic and Espanyol midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, now with the J-League's Yokohama F Marinos.
Japan reached the second round when it co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea but has never won a World Cup match on foreign soil. It will be making its fourth straight World Cup appearance.
"This is a team that will never give up, is very fast and will be at a high level of fitness," Okada said at a news conference Monday.
Japan was drawn with the Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon in Group E. It has had trouble scoring goals in recent matches.
"Honda has changed his style since going to Moscow. He has become more confident around the net and we have high expectations for him to score goals," Okada said.
Morimoto will come into Okada's calculations as a potential offensive catalyst.
"He is a very physical player," Okada said. "I'm not sure if he will start games but he can come on at any time in a game and create some chances."
The addition of 34-year-old goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, a veteran of three World Cups, was a surprise to some. Seigo Narazaki is expected to start.
Veteran Shinji Ono did not make the squad that contains a strong selection of midfielders including Nakamura, Honda, Hasebe and Junichi Inamoto.
Okada selected forwards Keiji Tamada, who scored against Brazil at the 2006 World Cup, and Shinji Okazaki, who scored 15 international goals last year.
Goalkeepers: Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata), Eiji Kawashima (Kawasaki Frontale), Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus)
Defenders: Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yasuyuki Konno (Tokyo), Yuto Nagatomo (Tokyo), Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Nagoya Grampus), Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers).
Midfielders: Yuki Abe (Urawa Reds), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg, Germany), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow, Russia), Junichi Inamoto (Kawasaki Frontale), Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble, France), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama F Marinos),
Forwards: Takayuki Morimoto (Catania, Italy), Shinji Okazaki (Shimizu S-Pulse), Yoshito Okubo (Vissel Kobe), Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus), Kishi Yano (Albirex Niigata)