Tokyo, May 18: Japan coach Akira Nishino announced on Friday that he has included stars Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa in his preliminary 27-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Nishino included former AC Milan forward Honda and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa, who reportedly did not see eye-to-eye with former coach Vahid Halilhodzic before he was suddenly sacked in April, following a series of disappointing results.
Nishino is due to name his final, 23-man quad for the World Cup, which kicks off in June, by May 31.
“I expect to pick the World Cup squad from these 27 players,” Nishino told the media. “Honda and Kagawa have been core players of the national team, and I have called them up in the hope that they will be able to contribute.”
The squad is heavy on experience, with no previously uncapped players included. The group’s average age is 28, likely to be among the oldest at the tournament.
Japan face Ghana in their final warm up game at home on May 30. Japan are in Group H alongside Colombia, Senegal and Poland, with their opening game against the South Americans on June 19. IANS