Hasebe available for Ivory Coast battle

Japan captain Makoto Hasebe has declared himself fit for their FIFA World Cup opener against Ivory Coast in Recife on Saturday.

Hasebe has missed June friendlies against Costa Rica and Zambia after suffering a recurrence of a knee injury.

The 30-year-old played the second half of their 1-0 win over Cyprus in late May, but insisted he can run out the full match against the Ivorians - something he has not done in his national shirt since November.

"There is no problem and I have been taking part in full training," Hasebe said, before adding Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni would have the final say.

"Obviously it is the coach that decides, but I am ready to go."

Hasebe suffered the knee injury first in January, and two operations later, he has still had setbacks in getting a full 90 minutes under his belt.

The Eintracht Frankfurt signing - he transferred from Nuremburg in June - said their first-up opponents have their weaknesses.

"Ivory Coast are strong in attack but on the other hand they are a bit flimsy in defence," he said.

"We are both attacking teams and I think it will be the team with the highest levels of concentration that will come out on top."

However Japan's goal has hardly been unbothered in the build-up to Brazil, as they shipped three goals to African nation Zambia, and conceded first against the Costa Ricans.

But Hasebe put their shortcomings down to mindset, rather than technique or set-up.

"Like the coach said, the thing we were lacking was focus against Zambia and that is what we are working on now," he said.