Japan target Brazil shock

21 June 2006 01:32
Brazil will look to stamp their authority on the World Cup finals when they round off their Group F campaign against Japan in Dortmund on Thursday. The holders have already booked their place in the last 16 with a 1-0 victory against Croatia and a 2-0 success over Australia. However, neither performance was impressive and both Croatia and Australia can count themselves unlucky not to have taken a point. Brazil's star-studded forward line has failed to fire and Ronaldo, in particular, will be fortunate to keep his place in the starting line-up ahead of Fred, who netted after coming off the bench against the Socceroos. As well as sorting out his strikers, coach Carlos Alberto Parreira must also decide whether to rest the players booked in the first two matches to ensure they are not suspended for the Selecao's last 16 tie. Emerson, Cafu, Ronaldo and Robinho are the men in line for a night off. Japan began their campaign with a 3-1 defeat against Australia and then drew 0-0 with Croatia. They retain a mathematical chance of progressing from Group F, but only if they can beat Brazil by at least two goals. Blue Samurai coach Zico said: "We have played Brazil before and I don't think they're an opponent who particularly frightens us. We have to work out a way to beat them." Whatever tactics Zico comes up with it will involve changing his strikers, after Naohiro Takahara and Atsushi Yanagisawa failed to pose a threat against Croatia. "There will be changes in attack but I haven't decided who will start yet," added Zico. "I want the forwards to start scoring a few goals. Otherwise we have no chance." Keiji Tamada and Seiichiro Maki are both certain to enter Zico's thinking as he rejigs his forward line, but the coach has limited options up front and midfield duo Shunsuke Nakamura and Hidetoshi Nakata are again likely to offer Japan's greatest attacking threat.

Source: ESA