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Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2004

Zico picks best squad to face India in qualifier

BANGKOK (AP) Asian Cup champion Japan isn't taking any chances against India as it pursues a place in the 2006 World Cup, with coach Zico mustering his strongest available squad for Wednesday's regional qualifier at Calcutta.

German-based striker Naohiro Takahara and Feyenoord midfielder Shinji Ono were recalled by Zico after missing last month's Asian Cup in China.

Takahara has just returned to the field for Hamburg after developing lung problems during Japan's tour of England in May.

Ono played at the Olympics but hasn't worked with the full national team since the 7-0 win over India at Saitama in June.

Zico didn't consider Fiorentina midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata due to a groin strain or Keji Tamada due to a knee problem.

"Our team has good momentum from the Asian Cup. Now we will change our focus to the World Cup qualifiers," Zico said. "It is important to collect a win from India so that we can qualify for the next stage even with draws in our final two qualifiers.

"I'd like to see the team display our own brand of football."

Shonan appoints Ueda

J. League second-division club Shonan Bellmare on Tuesday announced the appointment of Eiji Ueda, who guided the women's national team to the quarterfinals of the Athens Olympics, as its new manager.

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