Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic has curiously left out star trio Shinji Kagawa, Shinji Okazaki and Keisuke Honda for their glamour friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.
The Samurai Blue will resume their preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup next week with warm-up games to come against Brazil and Belgium on November 10 and 14 respectively.
However, they will do so without three players who have played integral roles in the past decade after Halilhodzic decided against selecting Borussia Dortmund star Kagawa, Leicester City striker Okazaki and Pachuca midfielder Honda.
— jfa_en (@jfa_en) October 31, 2017
This is the second successive time Honda and Okazaki have been omitted and, with both having turned 31 this year, it remains to be seen if the World Cup in Russia next summer will be their last hurrah at international level.
Other notable absentees include Mainz striker Yoshinori Muto and Heerenveen midfielder Yuki Kobayashi.
As some expected, Keisuke Honda left out of Japan squad for friendlies with Brazil and Belgium next month.
— John Duerden (@JohnnyDuerden) October 31, 2017
Still, there is plenty of experience for Halilhodzic to call upon in what will be tough tests against two quality sides, with the likes of Inter Milan fullback Yuto Nagatomo, Southampton centre-back Maya Yoshida and captain Makoto Hasebe of Eintracht Frankfurt all selected.
And, with one eye on the future, chances have also been given to a host of promising prospects hailing from the J1 League, including Cerezo Osaka striker Kenyu Sugimoto, Kawasaki Frontale left-back Shintaro Kurumaya, Gamba Osaka defender Genta Miura and Urawa Red Diamonds midfielder Kazuki Nagasawa.
— SHINJI KAGAWA / 香川真司 (@S_Kagawa0317) October 26, 2017
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Metz), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Red Diamonds)
Defenders: Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa Red Diamonds), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg), Shintaro Kurumaya (Kawasaki Frontale), Gen Shoji (Kashima Antlers), Genta Miura (Gamba Osaka)
Midfielders: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt), Shu Kurata (Gamba Osaka), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Ryota Morioka (Waasland-Beveren), Kazuki Nagasawa, Wataru Endo (both Urawa Red Diamonds), Yosuke Ideguchi (Gamba Osaka)
Forwards: Shinzo Koroki (Urawa Red Diamonds), Takashi Inui (Eibar), Yuya Osako (Cologne), Genki Haraguchi (Hertha Berlin), Kenyu Sugimoto (Cerezo Osaka), Yuya Kubo (Gent), Takuma Asano (Stuttgart)