Kagawa makes Japan squad for World Cup qualifier

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TOKYO (AP) -Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa was one of 12 Europe-based players selected in Japan's 23-man squad for the World Cup qualifier against Iraq next month.

CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda was also included for the Sept. 11 match at Saitama Stadium.

Japan will also play a friendly against United Arab Emirates on Sept. 6.

Japan is five points ahead of Iraq, Australia and Jordan in Group B following a 3-0 win over Oman, a 6-0 victory against Jordan and a 1-1 draw away to Australia.

Kagawa scored his first goal for United in a 3-2 win over Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The match pits Japan against former coach Zico, and Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said he expects a tough challenge.

"Zico is an experienced coach," Zaccheroni said. "He has a group of talented players and they looked good in the third round of qualifiers and have some different qualities than we have."

Zaccheroni did not select on-loan Wigan winger Ryo Miyaichi.

"He doesn't have match fitness and hasn't played a full 90 minutes since April," Zaccheroni said.

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Squad:

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo).

Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Masahiko Inoha (Vissel Kobe), Hiroki Mizumoto (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover).

Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Bayer Leverkusen), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo).

Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse Arnhem), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremberg), Genki Haraguchi (Urawa Reds).

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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