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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Japan's Kaji given clean bill of health

BONN, Germany, May 31 (Reuters) - Defender Akira Kaji was on Wednesday given the green light to play in Japan's World Cup opener after an injury scare in a warm-up game against Germany.

Kaji was taken off on a stretcher in Tuesday's 2-2 draw against the World Cup hosts following a heavy challenge from Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Japan's right wing back suffered a bruised right foot but should be fit to play in their Group F opener against Australia on June 12, according to team doctors.

Japan coach Zico has already been forced to replace defender Makoto Tanaka with Teruyuki Moniwa after Tanaka failed to recover from a hamstring injury before the team left Japan.

Moniwa was called back from vacation in Hawaii to join the Japan squad. The 24-year-old was awoken at 4 a.m. by a phone call from the Japan Football Association.

'I didn't know what was going on,' Moniwa told reporters. 'It's still not really sunk in. Maybe it will once I get to Germany.'

Asian champions Japan play Malta on June 4 in their final warm-up game. Japan's group also includes Croatia and World Cup holders Brazil.