Honda promises to bounce Czechs

YOKOHAMA - Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda has predicted a convincing victory against Czech Republic in Tuesday's friendly at Yokohama after being frustrated by Peru last week.

"We want to thrash them," Honda told Monday's Japanese media after a dour goalless draw against the South Americans in their Kirin Cup opener in Niigata.

"It's an important game and it's important so push ourselves to the limit."

Japan lacked any sort of cohesion with a new-look 3-4-3 formation being tested by coach Alberto Zaccheroni but Honda said the players backed the Italian's tactics.

"It's something new and you have to be patient," said the Moscow-based player, who shot to prominence by helping Japan reach the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"We were all over the place at times (against Peru) but you have to look at things when they go wrong but stay positive."

Zaccheroni said he would continue to experiment with the system.

"We have to keep plugging away and making sure all the players know their job," he said before winner-takes-all game against the Czechs, who also drew 0-0 with Peru.

Japan, who pulled out of July's Copa America after the deadly earthquake and tsunami in March, have one more match before the 2014 World Cup qualifiers begin.

Zaccheroni will hope to have Borussia Dortmund's Shinji Kagawa, being linked to English champions Manchester United, back for that game against South Korea in August.

Japan captain Makoto Hasebe said the 'Blue Samurai' had strength in depth and denied there was a rift in the team camp over Zaccheroni's man-management methods.

"Of course we expect to win," he said. "We know they are not an easy team to beat but we're improving.

"We have to adapt our tactics according to the teams we play but to take our game to the next level we have to learn to think for ourselves."

Japan beat the Czechs 1-0 in Prague the last time they met.


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