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Honda targets quarter-final spot for Japan

The Milan midfielder was one of his country's stand-out players in South Africa four years ago, scoring two goals in four matches as Japan exited in the second round after a penalty shootout defeat to Paraguay.

And the 27-year-old believes his side can go one better in Brazil this year, as they look to progress from Group C, where they have been drawn against Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia.

Should they advance, Japan will take on a team from Group D - consisting of Uruguay, Italy, England and Costa Rica - in the last 16, and Honda is optimistic of his team's chances.

"Firstly, we can 100 per cent get through our group," he told Nikkan Sports Daily.

"After that anything can happen at a World Cup. We're good enough now to reach the quarter-finals.

"Obviously we all need to stay fit but if we do the basics right 100 per cent, no mistakes, we can get to the quarter-finals. From there we can make miracles happen.

"I'm not talking idealistically, I'm being realistic. Do you believe in miracles or do you make them happen?

"If we only believe in miracles and that basis disappears, it will be difficult to get through our group."