Japan call up Kagawa for Venezuela friendly
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni named Manchester United's pre-season signing Shinji Kagawa on Thursday among his 23-man squad for next week's home friendly against Venezuela.
"The Venezuela game and the September 6 friendly (United Arab Emirates) are important before the World Cup qualifier against Iraq on September 11," Zaccheroni told reporters.
"Venezuela came fourth in last year's Copa America," the Italian added. "South American sides are always hard to beat, even in friendlies. It will be good preparation for us."
Japan overpowered Oman 3-0 and Jordan 6-0 at home before being held 1-1 in Australia in June in their first three games in the final round of Asian 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Dutch-based defender Maya Yoshida and Stuttgart's Gotoku Sakai, currently on Olympic duty in London, have also been named among Zaccheroni's squad.
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Hiroki Mizumoto (Hiroshima), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Reds), Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart)
Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Jungo Fujimoto (Nagoya Grampus), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Ryo Miyaichi (Arsenal) (Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by John O'Brien)