Ogura dismisses Japan World Cup hopes

TOKYO - Japan Football Association vice president Junji Ogura has poured cold water on the national coach's bold target of a World Cup semi-final spot next year.

Ogura, a FIFA executive board member, said he had faith in Japan coach Takeshi Okada but was not convinced the "Blue Samurai" would go far in South Africa.

"I trust coach Okada," Ogura was quoted as saying in Tuesday's Nikkan Sports. "I want us to (get to the semi-finals) and think it's a possibility.

"But FIFA place great significance on their world rankings when they decide the tournament seeds for example."

Japan are ranked 43rd in the world and 28th out of the 32 competing teams in South Africa.

The Japanese have never won a World Cup finals match on foreign soil and face a tough job in South Africa next year after drawing the Netherlands, Cameroon and Denmark in Group E.