Penpix of Japan squad
Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus). Goalkeeper. Born April 15 1976. Caps 75. Goals 0.
Narazaki has become Japan's first-choice goalkeeper after a long battle for the keeper's jersey with Kawaguchi. Experienced, courageous and an excellent shot-stopper, Narazaki is indisputably Japan's best goalkeeper.
Eiji Kawashima (Kawasaki Frontale). Goalkeeper. Born March 20 3 1983. Caps 8. Goals 0.
Established himself as a solid back-up for Narazaki after Kawaguchi suffered a horrific leg injury last year and has proven himself a reliable starter when Narazaki has been unavailable.
Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata). Goalkeeper. Born Aug. 15 1975. Caps 116. Goals 0.
Japan's most recognisable keeper and the country's second-most capped player, Kawaguchi won a race against time to make his fourth World Cup squad after breaking his leg in September. An instinctive shot-stopper whose experience will be a major plus to Japan, although causes a few heart-stopping moments with his tendency to flap at crosses.
Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F-Marinos). Defender. Born Feb. 25 1978. Caps 102. Goals 17.
The Japan captain is far and away the team's best defender and the heartbeat of the national side. Strong in the tackle and powerful in the air. Several of his 17 international goals have bailed out Japan in big games.
Tulio (Nagoya Grampus). Defender. Born April 24 1981. Caps 37. Goals 7.
Brazilian-born stopper who adds steel to the Japanese backline and wears his heart on his sleeve although his suspect temperament has proved a liability for coach Takeshi Okada at times. Like Nakazawa, is dangerous going forward at set pieces.
Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers). Defender. Born March 27 1988. Caps 31. Goals 1.
Japan's flying right-back has the speed and trickery to dazzle the best going forwards and has improved his tackling and defensive positioning after a shaky start to his international career. Possibly one to watch.
Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo). Defender. Born Sept. 12 1986. Caps 23. Goals 3.
A more defensive option down the right to Uchida, Nagatomo may have dropped down the pecking order after a poor display in a recent 3-0 home defeat by Serbia. Versatile player capable of delivering quality crosses but lacks Uchida's burning pace.
Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo). Defender. Born Jan. 25 1983. Caps 34. Goals 0.
On the plane to South Africa as cover, a no-nonsense defender who has grown in stature since making his Japan debut against China in 2005.
Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata). Defender. Born July 25 1981. Caps 51. Goals 0.
Mr. Reliable for Japan and could yet play a part at the World Cup with Okada still tinkering with his lineup in the run-in to the tournament.
Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers). Defender. Born Jan. 30 1982. Caps 2. Goals 0
Twice voted on to the J-League best eleven, a disciplined player as you would expect at champions Kashima and a tidy enough player to call upon in the case of injury.