Kawashima: Younger players have a chance to make impact

Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima believes that Brazil will pose a big test for the Asian giants on Tuesday when they take to the pitch at the Singapore Sports Hub in a high profile friendly.

A capacity crowd of 55,000 will be in attendance but both sides will have to deal with what has been deemed as a sub-standard pitch.

Speaking to FourFourTwo after his side’s training session at National Stadium on Tuesday, Kawashima gave a frank assessment of the pitch.

“The pitch?” he asked before leaning forward and breaking out into a wry smile.

“The pitch isn’t good. I cannot say that it is a good pitch but the situation will be the same for both teams.

“We cannot play beautiful football but we will try to do our best against a very good team.”

In five meetings between Japan and Brazil, the Samurai Blue have failed to register a single victory, with a 2-2 draw in 2005 the closest they have gotten to beating Brazil but Kawashima felt tomorrow’s tie pose a new challenge.

“I think this game means a little different because now we are a team which is building up again and we are trying to get younger players now, so we have less experience than before,” he said.

“It’s a good chance for the younger players to make an impact.”

Climate might count against Brazil

Capped 61 times by Japan, Kawashima has been a mainstay in the National Team since 2008, and believes the general mood is still high in the Japan camp despite the withdrawal of key player Shinji Kagawa from the squad due to an injury sustained against Jamaica.

“Brazil is one of the strongest teams in the world, you know, but we have the motivation to win against them,” he said on Monday.

“Neymar is a very big player but I also think that there are other players that are surely (among) the best in Europe so we have to look at Brazil as a team.

“I think it’s not easy to win, but it is going to be a big test for us and we have to make it a good experience for us.”

Kawashima also hinted that the weather conditions in Singapore might play against Brazil’s players, many of whom ply their trades in the chilly conditions in Europe.

“I’ve been here two times so I know the temperature, so for me it is no problem. But I think for most teams, this temperature is going to be a little tough.

“We will try to show the best (performance) we can.”