TOKYO - Japan defender Yuji Nakazawa believes the "Blue Samurai" can wipe the smiles off Brazil's faces if the teams meet at next year's World Cup. Brazil ushered Japan out of the 2006 World Cup in Germany with a 4-1 thrashing in their final group game and Nakazawa is eager for a little payback - once Japan qualify. "Brazil showed us just what it's like to play the world's best," the 31-year-old centre-back told Tuesday's Sankei Sports newspaper. "If we play them again it would be a good opportunity to measure how far we have come since 2006. This time we want to be the ones smiling at the end." Japan can clinch a spot in the 2010 finals on June 6 when they travel to Tashkent to play Uzbekistan. Takeshi Okada's side are second in Group One in the final round of Asian qualifying, two points behind Australia with three games remaining. The Socceroos, who have 13 points from five matches, and Japan are almost certain to qualify, with third-placed Bahrain on seven points having played a game more. "The Uzbekistan game is massive for us," insisted Nakazawa. "If even one player starts thinking: 'Oh we have three games left', that thinking infects the whole team. "Our opponents have their backs against the wall so they will be dangerous." The top two from each of the two Asian groups qualify automatically for the World Cup. The winners of a playoff between the two third-placed teams take on Oceania champions New Zealand for the final place in the 32-team tournament.
12 May 2009
Get FourFourTwo interviews, features and fun in your inbox every week. For free!
Thank you for registering for our Newsletter
We will send regular updates on the ongoing FourFourTwo updates to the email address you have supplied.