Japan hopeful of place in World Cup finals

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:52 IST

Japanese national team coach Zico insisted his side would rebound in time for World Cup qualifiers against Bahrain and North Korea.

Japan hopeful of place in World Cup finals

Abu Dhabi:

Embarrassed at home in goalless losses to Peru and the United Arab Emirates, Japanese national team coach Zico insisted his side would rebound in time for World Cup qualifiers against Bahrain and North Korea. Peru beat Japan 1-0 on May 22 and the Emirates followed with another 1-0 victory over the Japanese in the exhibition Kirin Cup five days later. The 51-year-old Brazilian was conducting the team's training session at the Al Wahda club's Al Nahyan stadium in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Japan is in second place in Asian Group B with six points after three matches, one point behind Iran, and two ahead of Bahrain. Acclimatisation camp The top two teams in each group qualify for the World Cup in Germany, while the third-place teams playoff for the right to face a team from CONCACAF for another berth. Japan plays Bahrain in Manama on Friday and five days later faces North Korea in Bangkok, Thailand. The Japanese has arrived in the United Arab Emirates capital for a three-day acclimatisation camp enroute to Manama. Bahrain has similar weather conditions and three days in Abu Dhabi would help, said Zico. His squad will be strengthened by the inclusion of Serie A players Hidetoshi Nakata, Shamnsuke Nakamura and Atsushi Yanagisawa along with Koji Nakata of French side Marseille. Zico said his team created more scoring chances in the Kirin Cup despite the defeats and was hopeful it can improve its finishing for Friday's game with the return of some of the European-based players. (AP)

Topics : Football Japan
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