THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

wsc328 previewWhat are the expectations for the team?
Progression from the group is seen as a must. Many would like an improvement on being knocked out in the second round in 2010, but with Italy, Uruguay or maybe even England lying in wait hopes aren't too high on that front.

Is the coach popular?
So much so that Alberto Zaccheroni has been appearing on adverts for green tea and rice balls in the build-up to the finals. He has enjoyed a good relationship with fans and media alike during his time in charge and results have been consistent enough.

Are there any players who have appeared in TV commercials or other advertising?
Following their coach's lead the players are proud to endorse a variety of products. Keisuke Honda helps to sell everything from pocket mints to McDonald's, Shinji Kagawa is the face of mobile phone company SoftBank, while Yuto Nagatomo, Hiroshi Kiyotake and Shinji Okazaki have been swigging cans of Asahi beer as the finals approach.

Which players are good interviewees and who are 
the worst?
When he is in the mood to talk Honda always comes across as intelligent. Eiji Kawashima, meanwhile, speaks several languages – including English, French and Spanish – and Maya Yoshida is always good value. Kagawa, on the other hand, has perfected the art of speaking without saying anything.

Will there be any rehearsed goal celebrations?
Maybe if more players from reigning champions Sanfrecce Hiroshima were in the squad as they are known for choreographed celebrations. But their only possible representative is also the most serious player, midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama, so the chances of any choreographed stunts are slim.

What will the media coverage be like?
It will be non-stop and anyone who has ever represented the Samurai Blue at a World Cup finals, including but not limited to Masashi Nakayama and Hidetoshi Nakata, will be scrutinising the minutiae of every pass, formation shift and sweep of Atsuto Uchida's hair alongside a dizzying array of J-Pop stars and talentless celebrities.

Will there be many fans travelling to the finals and will they have any chants?
The Ultra Nippon will be out in force and singing for the entirety of every game. They will also appear in a variety of costumes from samurai to bowling pin and will make sure they clean up all their mess before they leave the stadium too. Sure to make a lot of friends. Sean Carroll

 

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