Keisuke Honda, the Japan midfielder, says his team will not be at the World Cup to make up the numbers, declaring: "We're in it to win it."
Honda says Japan are out for victory
Keisuke Honda, the Japan midfielder, says his team will not be at the World Cup to make up the numbers, declaring: "We're in it to win it." Takeshi Okada, the coach, has been criticised for publicly saying Japan's target in South Africa was the semi-finals, despite strong evidence pointing to another quick exit. Most Japan players have opted to bite their tongues when asked about Okada's stated goal but Honda was more forthcoming, telling a news conference: "If we don't try to win there's no point being there."
South Korea warmed up for the World Cup with a 2-0 win over Ecuador in Seoul courtesy of second-half strikes from Sung-ryeol Lee and Chung-yong Lee, despite fielding a team made up only of domestic-based players. The friendly marks the start of the final phase of build-up for the Taeguk Warriors, who are next in action against Japan on May 24, before games against Belarus and Spain.
South Africa, the World Cup hosts, beat Thailand 4-0 at Mbombela Stadium yesterday for a morale-boosting win in preparation for the tournament. They scored three goals in 11 first-half minutes to mark the first match at the new venue in the northern city of Nelspruit. Carlos Alberto Parreira's Bafana Bafana outplayed a Thailand team, managed by Bryan Robson, the former England captain.