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Japan football coach Okada drops Takahara

SoccerNews in World Cup 29 May 2008

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Japan football coach Takeshi Okada has dropped former Eintracht Frankfurt striker Naohiro Takahara from his squad for crucial upcoming World Cup qualifiers because of poor form.

“He'd better train with his club and bring himself back into form from where he is now,” Okada told reporters. “With the national team he will have limited time for training.”

Takahara returned in January to the J-League when he signed for Asian champions Urawa Reds from the Bundesliga.

But he has scored only two goals for his new club this season, which opened in March, and none for his country in four internationals.

“I wish he will come back when he is confident of his condition,” said the coach.

Takahara was given only limited playing time in the second half in Japan's scoreless friendly draw with Paraguay at home on Tuesday.

In upcoming qualifiers, Japan will play Oman in Yokohama on Monday, travel to Muscat for the return on June 7 and face Thailand away on June 14.

Okada will then reconsider his line-up for Japan's final Asian Group 2 match against Bahrain at home on June 22.

Bahrain, who shocked Japan 1-0 in March, are top of Asian Group 2 with two wins and six points. Japan and Oman are level on three ahead of winless Thailand.

The top two finishers will advance to the final Asian qualifying round from September.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata), Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus), Eiji Kawashima (Kawasaki Frontale)

Defenders: Shuhei Terada (Kawasaki Frontale), Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama Marinos), Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Urawa Reds), Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yuki Abe (Urawa Reds), Yusuke Igawa (Kawasaki Frontale), Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Atsuto Uchida (Kashima Antlers)

Midfielders: Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic/SCO), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Daisuke Matsui (Saint Etienne/FRA), Keita Suzuki (Urawa Reds), Koji Yamase (Yokohama F Marinos), Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Makoto Hasebe (VfL Wolfsburg/GER), Shinji Kagawa (Cerezo Osaka)

Forwards: Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus), Seiichiro Maki (JEF United Chiba), Yoshito Okubo (Vissel Kobe), Kisho Yano (Albirex Niigata)

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