Okada shrugs off latest Japan setback

TOKYO - Japan coach Takeshi Okada remains upbeat over the Blue Samurai's World Cup chances despite the side suffering a fourth straight defeat in the run up to the month-long tournament in South Africa.

Japan Football Association (JFA) president Motoaki Inukai accused the players of looking "frightened" in Friday's 2-0 defeat by the Ivory Coast in the Swiss Alps but Okada is refusing to panic after the latest setback to his preparations.

"I deliberately chose to play top teams to toughen the players up for the World Cup," Okada told Japanese media.

"The confidence of the players has taken a bit of a knock maybe," added the 53-year-old, given the go-ahead to continue as coach by Inukai after defeat by South Korea last month.

"But we're a team and I trust the players to pull together and produce something extra at the World Cup. Clearly we need to score goals. To do that we need to take a few more risks."

Inukai ordered Japan to take their medicine ahead of the team's World Cup opener against Cameroon on June 14.

"It was a good test timing-wise to play Ivory Coast before the Cameroon game," Inukai said. "But what was worrying was that the players looked frightened."

Okada's side, who also play the Netherlands and Denmark in Group E, have lost successive matches to Serbia, South Korea, England and Ivory Coast,

Follow FFT.com on Twitter
Join FFT.com on Facebook