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Samurai Blue look blunt in attack

Japan line up for a friendly against Belgium
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Manager Akira Nishino

Japan have flattered to deceive in recent World Cup appearances and expectations are nowhere near as high as they were at the last tournament even though they qualified top of their final Asian group.

Questions were being asked regarding boss Vahid Halilhodzic's suitability to the role after the Bosnian dropping established internationals Keisuke Honda, Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki and he has since been replaced by Akira Nishino following poor results in the March friendlies.

Experienced defenders Yuto Nagatomo and Maya Yoshida of Inter and Southampton respectively will be important but the squad is mainly made up of players who were over-hyped youngsters who have not trained on in the Bundesliga.

Hertha Berlin's Genki Haraguchi top-scored for Japan in final qualifying with four goals, but nobody else managed to notch more than twice in a ten-game stretch when the Samurai Blue failed to sparkle.

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Halilhodzic has been replaced by Akira Nishino
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