Saturday, December 5, 2009

Samurai Blue handed tough draw in South Africa

Samurai Blue handed tough draw in South Africa.
Japan coach Takeshi Okada reacted calmly to his nation's World Cup draw, after the Samurai Blue were drawn in Group E alongside the Netherlands, Denmark and Cameroon.

Having claimed that Japan are aiming for a semi-finals berth in South Africa, the Asian powerhouses must first negotiate a tough group that includes Bert van Marwijk's highly-fancied Dutch side.

The Netherlands beat Japan 3-0 when the two sides met in a friendly in Enschede in September, and Okada's men will need to find a way of dealing with not one, but two European opponents in South Africa.

Denmark will likewise provide a stern test for the Japanese, while Cameroon will be eager to impress on African soil.

Despite the tough draw, Okada was optimistic about his side's chances of progressing.

However, former Japan coach Ivica Osim had a warning for his successor, telling reporters in Tokyo on the eve of the draw,
"the bigger the expectations, the bigger the disappointment."

Japan's first match is against Cameroon on June 14 in Bloemfontein, before they take on the Netherlands in Durban on June 19 and end their group stage campaign against Denmark in Rustenburg on June 24.

Copyright © Michael Tuckerman & Soccerphile.com

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