Japan expecting Uzbekistan test

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni is aware he is likely going to have a fight on his hands when his team take on Uzbekistan in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

The Japanese celebrate their late winner.

Japan got off their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start last Friday, albeit in an unconvicing manner with their 1-0 win over DPR Korea.

And while Zaccheroni believes Japan are going to find the going tough away to Uzbekistan on Tuesday, he is confident his charges have what it takes to find a way past their opponents' defence.

"I expect our opponents in the upcoming matches to stick together and defend deep as North Korea did," Zaccheroni said in his pre-match press conference.

"But we are a highly motivated group and we must be prepared for any opponents - whether they defend deep or come out in open play.

"My team can create more chances than our opponents within 90 minutes, as we did against North Korea when we had more personalities and more options up front."

And while Zaccheroni admits that injuries to CSKA Moscow playmaker Keisuke Honda and Inter Milan full-back Yuto Nagatomo have come as a blow to his preparations, he is happy the way his squad has handled their absence.

"It is true that we don't have players matching the two of them [Honda and Nagatomo].

"But I am 100% satisfied with the players who have filled in for Honda and Nagatomo."

One player who seized his opportunity in the absence of more-established players was Ventforet Kofu forward Mike Havenaar, who earned his first cap against the North Koreans.

Havenaar, who was born in Japan to Dutch parents, has promised that despite it being an away game, Japan would be going all out for the win on Tuesday.

"Of course we are going for the win," said Havenaar.

"We're always looking to do that so we have to win the next game."

Uzbekistan also have three points from their opening qualifying match, after claiming a 1-0 win over Tajikistan.



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