Celtic’s Shunsuke Nakamura was left out of the 2002 World Cup sqaud by Zico’s predecessor Phillipe Troussier and has a lot to prove to himself and to his nation on the World Cup stage. Having won the Scottish Premier League title in his first season with Celtic, Nakamura has added to his burgeoning reputation with his eye for goal and general all round excellence on the ball. He’ll be a keyman if japan are to get anything from this World Cup campaign.
Brazilian born but a Japanese resident since his schooldays, Alex received his Japanese citizenship just before the 2002 World Cup. His devastating left foot is one of Japan’s main weapons and his link up play with Nakamura will cause problems for all of the defences they face in Germany. Excellent going forward and brings some of that Brazilian heritage with him to dead ball situations.