FINAL STAY FOR SHINJI RAISES MORALE

National coach Zico has proven he’s a man of his word and left Shinji Ono out of his latest Japan squad for a sequence of international fixtures ahead of the Confederations Cup. Neither does the squad include the country’s other prominent Europe-based stars Nakata (Parma), Takahara (HSV) and Nakamura (Reggina). It all means that a fit Ono will be available for the final of the Amstel Cup on June 1 when Feyenoord meet FC Utrecht.

Japan are set to play an de facto East Asia championship as the nation prepares for its participation in the Confederations Cup with matches against South Korea, China and Hong Kong within a few days of each other. Zico does expect Ono to be part of his squad for 8 June Kirin Cup match against Argentina and for the Confederations Cup itself, which is hosted by France later that month. The full Japanese squad: Keepers: Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Portsmouth), Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya), Hitoshi Sogahata (Kashima) Defence: Yutaka Akita (Kashima), Akira Narahashi (Kashima), Toshihiro Hattori (Iwata), Makoto Tanaka (Iwata), Nobuhisa Yamada (Urawa), Ryuzo Morioka (Shimizu), Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Gamba Osaka), Naoki Matsuda (Yokohama), Tomonori Hirayama (Kashiwa), Keisuke Tsuboi (Urawa) Midfield: Hiroshi Nanami (Iwata), Daisuke Oku (Yokohama), Takashi Fukunishi (Iwata), Daisuke Matsui (Kyoto), Alex (Shimizu), Tomokazu Myojin (Kashiwa), Mitsuo Ogasawara (Kashima), Koji Nakata (Kashima), Junichi Inamoto (Fulham), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Naohiro Ishikawa (FC Tokyo) Attack: Masashi Nakayama (Iwata), Takayuki Suzuki (Genk), Tatsuhiko Kubo (Yokohama), Yoshiteru Yamashita (Sendai), Yuichiro Nagai (Urawa), Yoshito Okubo (Cerezo Osaka)
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