By Craig Pearson on March 21, 2014
Japan is one of those countries that the World Cup just loses something if they're not there -- something's missing. In Brazil, they'll be there, though, and looking to make an impact in front of the world. With many European experienced players, a couple of star names and a never ending work rate, they will be tough opposition in Brazil and are underrated ahead of the tournament.
Japan have always been one of the fittest and hardest working teams around. Now, though, they have quality and creativity to go with those attributes, and it can make for a dangerous combination. Hard work and talent combined is a potent mix and it is a mix Japan will be bringing to Brazil.
The one thing Japan have always had is work rate, energy and endeavor. Now they can boast quality creativity among their midfield also. Keisuke Honda of AC Milan and Shinji Kagawa of Manchester United are the chief protagonists, and with their guile and vision they can unlock anybody's defense at any time.
Keisuke Honda recently joined AC Milan in Italy from CSKA Moscow in Russia. He was in high demand because of his displays for both his club and his country. He is a creative player who can make the difference with goals or assists, and his free-kicks are a big threat to win any game.
Gone are the days when a Japan team turns up and you don't really know any of their players or they all ply their trade in various poor leagues around the world. With multiple players performing in top European leagues like Kagawa, Honda, Shinji Okazaki and Yuto Nagatomo, the level over the years has progressively improved. These players are proven in Europe and will clearly make Japan a team to watch closely in Brazil.
Shinji Kagawa has been the star of the Japan team for a few years now. At Manchester United he has had a difficult patch and lacked the playing time he would ideally want. That could be a bad thing, but it could very well be a great thing for Japan. Kagawa will have a point to prove in Brazil. He will be super motivated and looking to reestablish himself on the world stage; where better to do that than at the World Cup?
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