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Japan have a strong team based on the Under 20 squads that reached the quarter finals in 1997 and the final in 1999. If Hidetoshi Nakata, a worldwide recognised superstar plays, Japan will be sure to have a strong attacking line-up. This is some information about their better players:



Name : Daisuke Ichikawa

Position : Defender

Date of birth : 14/5/80

Team : Shimizu S-Pulse (Japan)

Notes : Made his international debut after only one full game as wing back at the age of 17 years and 10 months, becoming Japan's youngest international and almost earning a place in the 1998 World Cup squad.


Name : Shunsuke Nakamura

Position : Midfielder

Date of birth : 24/6/78

Team : Yokohama Marinos (Japan)

Notes : Creative midfielder who played in the 1997 World Youth Cup and became the main midfielder in the Olympic qualifiers with the absence of Nakata and Ono.


Name : Hidetoshi Nakata 

Position : Midfielder

Date of birth : 22/1/77

Team : Roma (Italy)

Notes : He was dual Asian Player Of Year in 1997 and 1998. He is the second Japanese player to play in Serie A after Kazu Miura. He played for Japan at U-15, U-17, U-19, U-20 and U-23 levels. He is Japan's best player and was involved in the 1998 World Cup squad. He has already played in one Olympics in Atlanta. He recently completed a move from Perugia to Roma after a impressive season. He is potentially one of the best Asian players ever.


Name : Shinji Ono

Position : Midfielder

Date of birth : 27/9/79

Team : Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan)

Notes : Star of World Youth Cup team in 1999 that made the final. Was unable to play in second stage of 2000 Olympic qualifiers because of a ligament injury. He made one appearance as a substitute in the 1998 World Cup. 


Name : Atsushi Yanagisiwa

Position : Forward

Date of birth : 27/5/77

Team : Kashima Antlers (Japan)

Notes : Won Best New Player of Year Award for J-League in 1997. Scored four goals in 1997 World 

Youth Cup.  

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