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Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005

Zico assembles strong squad

Japan coach Zico on Tuesday named Bolton Wanderers star Hidetoshi Nakata to a near full-strength squad for next week's home friendly with Angola.

Fellow midfielders Junichi Inamoto, Shunsuke Nakamura and Daisuke Matsui were also among six European-based players picked for the Nov. 16 match at Tokyo's National Stadium.

Marseille's Koji Nakata missed out because of suspension while there was no place in the 23-man squad for Real Mallorca striker Yoshito Okubo.

Defenders Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, who is carrying a knee injury, and Yuji Nakazawa were recalled after missing last month's tour of eastern Europe while midfielder Yuki Abe, who helped JEF United Chiba win the Nabisco Cup last weekend, also returns.

"This game will give us the chance to analyze a team we may face at next year's World Cup and I want the players to show the same battling spirit they always do," said Zico.

Japan will be looking to end 2005 on a winning note against the Africans after it squandered a two-goal lead in the 2-2 draw with Lativa and lost 1-0 to Ukraine with 10 men after Nakata was sent off.



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