WORLD CUP : PLAYER TO WATCH
Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan)
Despite the emergence of Shunsuke Nakamura and Shinji Ono, Hidetoshi Nakata will unquestionably be one of coach Zico’s key options in Japan’s squad, and he will be given a brief to boss the midfield.
Nakata is widely regarded as the best footballer and biggest star that Japan has ever produced. He made his presence felt when he stood out in Japan’s memorable qualifying campaign for France 98, helping his side make history by claiming their first appearance at a World Cup. He played in Japan’s three matches in the finals, and although his team lost them all, Nakata sho-wed his great potential.
Junichi Inamoto (Japan)
Junichi Inamoto is an attacking midfielder, who has amassed more than 60 international appearances. Inamoto scored twice at the 2002 FIFA World Cup on home soil. He also appeared at the 1995 FIFA U-17 World Championship, the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship, and the 2001, 2003 and 2005 editions of the FIFA Confederations Cup. Inamoto has been part of the Japanese team since 2000, though he took a while to recover from breaking his leg while on international duty against England in 2004. In the same country, he has had spells at Premiership sides Arsenal, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion.