Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Japan - Ghana is on

The Japan Football Federation has confirmed it will play the Black Stars in a World Cup warm-up match in September.

Japan says it has reached an agreement with its Ghana counterparts to field its best team including Stephen Appiah, Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari in the game.

The Japanese team has won 6 out of its last 10 games

The Blue Samurai will travel to Enschede, Holland on September 5 to face the Oranje and then four days later will meet African nation Ghana in Utrecht.

"Both teams have promised to play members who have taken part in (World Cup) qualifying," Japan coach Takeshi Okada said.

"The road trip will help us obtain first-hand knowledge of teams that have the potential to reach the last four.”

Currently, the Asians are 40th in the ranking and looking at the kind of players they possess, that game should be interesting.

On the premise that both teams would really play first-team guys, let's see what the Japs have.

They do not have what you would call world class threats but they do have some decent names in there: Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble, FRANCE), Shunsuke Nakamura (Espanyol, SPAIN), Makoto Dasebe (Wolfsburg, GERMANY) and Junichi Inamoto (Rennes)

However, the real danger men who put the ball in the net regularly on the national level include Naohiro Takahara and Nakamura (both have 23 goals and are among the country's all-time high scorers).

But these two guys are usually called for really really important matches and I like to think that they would consider Ghana an important prospect.

The rest of the lads Japan have used in recent friendlies are all home-based. Hey, don't be fooled as it is their speed that may be a source of worry.

The team has won 6 out 0f its last 10 games ( some of the opponents were Yemen, Bahrain - twice, Finland, Qatar, Chile, Belgium and Australia).

Not bad at all.