Alberto Zaccheroni will get a clearer picture of how he will set up at the FIFA World Cup when Japan host Cyprus in a friendly on Tuesday.
Japan will come up against Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast in Group C at the World Cup finals in Brazil, though first thing on the agenda is an international friendly at Saitama Stadium.
Zaccheroni named 12 European-based players in his 23-man squad for the showpiece event, with Keisuke Honda (Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United) and Shinji Okazaki (Mainz) headlining the selections.
Veteran striker Yoshito Okubo was handed a shock recall to the national team, having not appeared on the international stage since February 2012.
Okubo's selection was questioned despite topping the J.League charts last season with 27 goals, while he has already netted eight this campaign.
But the Kawasaki Frontale front man has the chance to justify his inclusion and stake his claim for a starting spot in Brazil with a good showing against Cyprus.
The 31-year-old will also take confidence from Zaccheroni's comments at Japan's squad announcement almost a fortnight ago.
"The real surprise should be that he has chosen Kagawa, who scored no goals in the Premier League, and (Yoichiro) Kakitani, who's scored just once so far in the J. League," said the Italian.
"If this was a country like Brazil, Kagawa and Kakitani would not have been picked. And if they were, there would be a storm of boos."
Tuesday's clash is the first of three games before the World Cup, with matches against Costa Rica and Zambia set to follow during Japan's training camp in Florida.
Japan, who have won their past two friendlies against Belgium (3-2) and New Zealand (4-2), should get the job done against an undermanned Cyprus.
Not only does coach Pambos Christodoulou have to contend with a lengthy trip to the Far East, he will also be without several key players for the first-ever competitive senior meeting between the two teams.
Demetris Christofi (Sion), Antonis Georgallides (Omonia), Jason Demetriou (AEK Larnaca), Charalambos Kyriakou (Apollon Limassol) and Stathis Aloneftis (APOEL) have failed to make the trip.
Dossa Junior, meanwhile, is still in action for Legia Warsaw as they round off their title-winning campaign in Poland.comments