Yoshida targeting Japan's best World Cup finish

Japan defender Maya Yoshida is targeting the country's best finish at a FIFA World Cup by reaching the quarter-finals in Brazil.

The Southampton man will be competing in his first World Cup after missing the 2010 tournament due to an ankle injury.

But Yoshida has been named in Alberto Zaccheroni's squad for next month's finals and is hopeful of a strong showing. 

Japan's best result at a World Cup came in 2002, when the joint-hosts reached the last 16, an achievement they replicated in 2010 and one that Yoshida is looking to better this time around.

"Four years ago, I felt frustrated and watch the World Cup on TV," Yoshida said. "So I’m happy with I’ve got a chance to take the stage of the World Cup.

"I want to do my best to get a good result better than the previous tournament.

Yoshida has not featured for Southampton since March because of a knee injury.

However, the 25-year-old has now returned to training and, after making just 13 starts in all competitions this season, is keen to impress on football's biggest stage.

"I re-joined full training at the beginning of this week," he added. "I don't have any problems.

"I want to overturn my situation at the World Cup. I hope my situation and evaluation will change completely after the tournament.

"That's my top wish and aim. I think the World Cup is such a kind of tournament for players. I'm very excited."