Zaccheroni: Japan can win World Cup

Japan's coach Alberto Zaccheroni has ambitiously tipped the Blue Samurai to win the FIFA World Cup in the future.

Shinji Kagawa

The Asian champions have been a regular fixture in the World Cup, having qualified for the past four competition and nearly reached the quarter-finals last year if not for a penalty defeat to Paraguay.

Speaking of the future of Japan, Zaccheroni believes his side have what it takes to join the big guns at the pinnacle of the world stage.

"I think Japan have an opportunity to win the World Cup in the future, and I'm not saying this as some sort of cheap flattery," Zaccheroni said at the JFA House ahead of next week's World Cup qualifier at home to North Korea.

"Japanese football owes it to itself to keep improving, and people here understand they have to try to catch up and eventually pass the best teams in the world.

"The big teams in the world, on the other hand, have stopped growing because they've been on top for so long."

The Italian remains unbeaten since being appointed Japan's coach last August but he insisted he is not afraid of being beaten.

"One game isn't going to change who we are," Zaccheroni said. "National teams don't play once every three days but rather once every two months.

"The important thing is to go into the few games you play in the best possible condition you can be in.

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