(Sporting Alert) — Japan will look to bounce back from a recent friendly defeat against Bulgaria when they take on Australia in a crucial Asia World Cup 2014 qualifier on Tuesday night at Saitama Stadium.
The Japanese struggled to get going against Bulgaria, but head coach Alberto Zaccheroni is more confident about the coming fixture.
“In the Bulgaria game, we couldn’t play as smoothly as we usually do as we were together for the first time after a break,” he said.
“After the Bulgaria game, we have trained hard so that we can do what we need to against Australia. We have worked on our fitness, techniques, tactics and mentality and have prepared well for tomorrow’s game.”
A victory or a draw in the Group B Asian final-round qualifier with Australia would put Japan on ahead of their rivals and secure a place to Brazil and Zaccheroni believes his players are ready to go.
“We are very much aware of the significance of this game,” said Zaccheroni.
“The points in tomorrow’s game are important. My feelings are similar to those before a cup final.
“It’s been a long journey to this point and many things have happened along the way. We’ve got to decide our qualification here,” he added.
Manchester United forward Shinji Kagawa, Honda Keisuke of CSKA Moscow and Stuttgart duo Okazaki Shinji and Sakai Gotoku are all set to feature for Japan.
Japan are on 13 points at the moment, while Australia are on six.