Posted: Thursday January 31, 2013 2:58 AM

Kagawa named to Japan squad for Latvia friendly

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TOKYO (AP) -Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa was one of 15 Europe-based players named in Japan's squad for next week's friendly against Latvia.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Thursday named Kagawa along with CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo for the Feb. 6 match at Kobe, one of two friendlies Japan has ahead of its next World Cup qualifier at Jordan on March 26.

Japan, which also plays Canada in Doha on March 22, can clinch a fifth straight World Cup appearance with a win over Jordan in the Group B clash in Amman.

"This is a very important year for us and the first goal is to book our ticket for the World Cup on March 26,'' Zaccheroni said.

Kagawa sat out Japan's last World Cup qualifier, a 2-1 win over Oman in November, after suffering a left-knee injury in United's 3-2 win over Braga in the Champions League on Oct. 23.

Dutch-based striker Yuki Otsu, who impressed in Japan's run to the semifinals of the London Olympics with three goals, was given his first call-up.



Goalkeepers: Takuto Hayashi (Vegalta Sendai), Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)

Defenders: Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka) Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Hiroki Mizumoto (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart)

Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Bayer Leverkusen), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo)

Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse Arnhem), Takashi Inui (Eintracht Frankfurt), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremberg), Yuki Otsu (VVV Venlo).
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