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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 9, 2009

Japan coach disappointed in Scotland withdrawals

Japan coach Takeshi Okada has expressed his disappointment at facing a weakened Scotland in the friendly at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama.

George Burley's squad has been hit by 10 withdrawals since it was originally announced, with Manchester Untied midfielder Darren Fletcher - the highest profile of the absentees - and Tottenham Hotspur defender Alan Hutton pulling out just before the team flew to Japan.

''When the Scotland team made the announcement of the squad, we were expecting them to bring their strongest team but they have made some changes and that was really disappointing for us,'' he said. ''At this time of the year it's really difficult to arrange international friendlies against competitive teams.

''I can sort of understand that they sent their second string squad but I'm not sure about the timing of the announcement. We want to be informed before they come. It's hard for us to believe that the players picked up these injuries just before and it would have helped if we had been told beforehand.''

Okada is now likely to pick a weakened side himself for the game against the Scots, which comes just 48 hours after Japan thrashed Hong Kong 6-0 in a qualifying match for the 2011 finals of the AFC Asian Cup.

''If Scotland had sent the team we had thought they were going to send, I had thought about playing my best team against them but now I don't care who we are playing against, we just have to do our best,'' he said. ''We have played in an official match last night and played with good intentions and it was good for us in the end.''

Okada is expected to hand an international debut to Catania striker Takayuki Morimoto, while VVV Venlo's Keisuke Honda will also start. But it is unlikely former Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura will feature having played the entire 90 minutes against Hong Kong.

''Scotland now have their second string squad but they will still be far stronger than Hong Kong in a sense,'' said Okada. ''It's still going to be a test for us to see how well we play against Scotland.

''We want to try to see what we can and I want to challenge the players before we go to South Africa. I always tell the players not to be afraid of making mistakes and of the other teams. You always have to give your best.''

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