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Friday, March 2, 2007
J. LEAGUE 2007
TEAM BY TEAM ANALYSIS
Nagoya Grampus Eight
Last season: 7th
Manager: Sef Vergoossen (Netherlands)
Prospects: A similar finish to last season
One to watch: Frode Johnsen, strong Norwegian striker.
Johnsen bagged 10 league goals in 17 appearances after arriving in midseason last year, so a lot of goals are promised from the target man during a full season.
The Norwegian, though, is perhaps the only exciting thing about Nagoya.
The club has pots of Toyota money to play with, but all that has bought is a team of faceless underachievers who drift around in mid-table.
One thing that has happened under Vergoossen's watch is that the age of the team has been reduced, and it may be that he is building more for the future than the coming season.
Even so, Vergoossen would surely welcome ex-national team forward Keiji Tamada realizing at least some of his undoubted potential this season, before he is labeled as one of the biggest wastes of talent of the past few years. Remember, Tamada was the guy who thrashed in the opener against Brazil in the 2006 World Cup.
National teamer Seigo Narazaki is still an excellent 'keeper, and with Masayuki Omori still present, Nagoya has a solid-ish spine, but it's still not enough for a club that has the means to be so much better.