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Japan name Endo in Olympic squad

Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo was the only over-age player in Japan's preliminary 20-member Olympic football squad announced on Monday.

Endo, 28, has scored six goals in 70 full internationals, gaining a reputation for his probing passing and sharing free-kick duties with Celtic's Shunsuke Nakamura.

Another over-age candidate, ex-Real Mallorca striker Yoshito Okubo, was not chosen after his struggling J-League side Vissel Kobe refused to release him to avoid exacerbating an injury.

Japan will use only one of the three over-age slots available, according to Japan Football Association technical director Takeshi Ono.

Olympic team coach Yasuharu Sorimachi said he would announce a final squad on July 14 after a training camp.

“I have called up the best members available at the moment,” he said.

The under-23 line-up included two regular defenders from the senior national team, Gamba Osaka's Michihiro Yasuda and Atsuto Uchida of Kashima Antlers.

Two Europe-based players, VVV-Venlo midfielder Keisuke Honda and Catania striker Takayuki Morimoto, were also named.

Mon 30 June, 2008
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