The world’s biggest football event is less than 20 days away, and already people are placing their bets on which country is going to win the World Cup. While most will probably say it will be host country Brazil, defending champions Spain or a young but powerful Germany, if you ask Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo, he says that he and the rest of the Samurai Blue will do their best to upset the favorites and win the cup for their country and the region.
No Asian country has ever won the World Cup, with South Korea being the closest, in their surprise semi-final finish in the 2002 edition, which they co-hosted with Japan. The Samurai Blue‘s best finish has been a Final 16 spot also back in 2002 and again in 2010 in South Africa. Nagatomo, who plies his club trade with Italian giants Inter Milan, says that they are going into the tournament not thinking of losing, especially since they are competing for their country’s glory. “I aspire to win the championship,” he declared.
Nagatomo is raring to go and do his defending and attacking duties on the left flank, an important position given Japan’s coach Alberto Zaccheroni‘s attacking style. “I want to deliver a performance that will live on in people’s memories and be talked about again and again,” he said. He scored five goals for Inter last season and will even be looking at adding to his three international goals in 67 caps for Japan. The Samurai Blue is fielding 12 players from European-based clubs out of the 23 in the squad, including Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan) and Shinji Okazaki (Mainz 05).
[ via Daily Mail ]