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Zaccheroni looks to seal qualification

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni wants his side to remain focused on the job at hand as they stand on the cusp of World Cup qualification.

If Japan can win their next match in Group B against Jordan, they will become the first team to qualify for next year’s showpiece in Brazil.

Unbeaten so far in the group stage, Japan have opened up an eight-point lead over both Australia and Iraq at the top of the standings ahead of their trip to play bottom side Jordan on March 26.

And Zaccheroni wants to wrap things up with a victory in Amman.

“We have got three games left to play before the end of the qualifiers, but we want to finish in style,” he said.

“My expectations, just like yours, are very, very high.

“To live up to all these expectations, the pivotal point will be to get to this match as physically prepared as possible.”

Japan’s cause has been hindered with news that playmaker Keisuke Honda and defender Yuto Nagatomo have been ruled out of the match with injury, but Zaccheroni is confident they can cover the losses.

“It’s not the first time we have been without them,” Zaccheroni said.

“The players who have replaced them have always done a good job.”

Japan leave for Qatar on Sunday for a warm-up match against Canada on March 22.

Thu 14 March, 2013
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