Nakazawa likely to miss
Japan is likely to go into Wednesday's final World Cup qualifier against Australia at the MCG without skipper Yuji Nakazawa.
Japan is likely to go into Wednesday's final FIFA World Cup qualifier against Australia at the MCG without skipper Yuji Nakazawa.
Nakazawa has been struggling with an illness since arriving in Australia on Saturday and coach Takeshi Okada said it was doubtful the defender would play on Wednesday.
"He is sick," Okada told reporters. "He has a temperature of 37 (Celsius) degrees and is not in good condition."
"He has not trained for three days, so it will be difficult for him to play."
There is no concern that Nakazawa, who has played against Australia in each of their three recent clashes in the World Cup, the Asian Cup and the match in Yokohama in February, has swine flu.
Experienced goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki will most likely take the captain's armband if Nakazawa does not play.
Japan is already without playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura for the match, with the Celtic midfielder rested for the match, which will determine who finishes top of Group A from the two teams which have already qualified.
Yasuhito Endo, Makokot Hasebe, Yoshito Okubo and Keisuke Honda were the other Japanese players who did not travel to Australia for the match for a variety of reasons.
Okada said that match was an important preparation for the Blue Samurai for next year's World Cup and he wanted to win the game to finish top of the group.