Japan name squad for tune-up
TOKYO -- Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni has named Milan's Keisuke Honda and Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa to a 23-man squad for next week's World Cup warm-up against New Zealand.
Honda and Kagawa were among 11 Europe-based players named for the match against New Zealand; Japan's first as they prepares for their fifth-straight World Cup appearance.
"New Zealand are a physical team so this will be a good challenge," Zaccheroni said. "I want to check on various things we have been working on for the last three years."
Defender Yuto Nagatomo of Inter Milan and forward Shinji Okazaki of German side Mainz were also named.
Japan face New Zealand on March 5 at Tokyo's National Stadium in the last match at the venue before it is demolished and rebuilt for the 2020 Olympics.
The reigning Asian champions are drawn in Group C for this summer's World Cup to face Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast.
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart)
Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Hajime Hosogai (Hertha Berlin), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremberg), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F Marinos), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka)
Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Masato Kudo (Kashiwa Reysol), Yuya Osako (1860 Munich)