Kruse and Wilkshire to provide Japan insight
Robbie Kruse has issued a warning that another performance like the one against Oman could see the Qantas Socceroos embarrassed by Japan.
Two of the Qantas Socceroos' finest have flourished in a season against some of their Japanese counterparts and will offer a valuable insight into minimising the effect of the Samurai Blue game breakers on Tuesday.
In Russia, Luke Wilkshire has just concluded his fifth season with Dinamo Moscow, where on two occasions the 31-year-old crossed paths with CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda - arguably Japan's most influential player.
Perhaps positively for the Socceroos, although Honda was injured when Wilkshire's Dinamo held CSKA to a scoreless draw last month, earlier in the season Dinamo scored a 2-0 triumph away from home in a fixture that featured both Honda and Wilkshire for the full 90 minutes.
Honda, 26, is in some doubt for Tuesday's match due to lingering injury concerns and - at best - will arrive into Tokyo two days before kick off due to potential commitments in the Russian Cup Final on Saturday.
Japan's media and fans alike are sweating on Honda's presence in the Japanese engine room against Australia, his value to the Samurai Blue evidenced by his goal assist when the Qantas Socceroos hosted Japan in Brisbane last June.
"He's a talented player," said Wilkshire, who made a significant impact last June by slotting Australia's equalising goal from the penalty spot.
"He's had a good season with his club, who won the league, he's got a lot of quality, he can make the final pass and can score goals.
"He's definitely a danger there, but I think the Japanese team have several players who are capable of that."
Honda aside, a throng of Japan's best players call Germany's Bundesliga home and that's where Robbie Kruse has just completed a breakthrough season with Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Though headed for giant club Bayer Leverkusen next season, while at Fortuna Kruse would regularly face Japanese opponents, most notably Stuttgart's gun striker Shinji Okazaki, captain Makoto Hasebe of Wolfsburg and Schalke's wing back Atsuto Uchida.
Again positively for Australia, one of Kruse's potential direct opponents on Tuesday - Stuttgart wing back Gotoku Sakai - was on the receiving end of a Kruse brace for Düsseldorf last February.
"They (Japan) have a lot playing in the Bundesliga, all their young players play every week and they're regulars for their teams," said Kruse.
"They have a wonderful array of talent coming through and it's going to be difficult (for the Qantas Socceroos).
"But, we believe in ourselves and I'm sure if we can stick to the game plan we can get a result."
The Qantas Socceroos- FIFA World Cup qualification campaign continues on Tuesday, 4 June at Saitama Stadium, where they will meet the challenge of Japan. Kick off is at 7.30pm local time (8.30pm AEST).
The Qantas Socceroos will conclude the current stage of Asian qualifiers upon their return home, firstly to face Jordan at Melbourne-s Docklands Stadium on Tuesday, 11 June. Kick off is at 7pm AEST.
Finally, the Qantas Socceroos will host Iraq at Sydney-s Stadium Australia on Tuesday, 18 June. Kick off is at 7.30pm AEST.
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