Disgruntled Nakazawa completes Japan U-turn

Updated: February 14, 2007, 9:47 AM ET
Reuters

TOKYO, Feb 14 - Japan defender Yuji Nakazawa returned to the international fold on Wednesday for the first time since last year's World Cup.

The Yokohama F-Marinos player, who threatened to quit the international team after Germany 2006, was named in Japan's 28-man party for this week's training camp in Chiba.

"I honestly thought I wouldn't wear the Japan shirt again after the World Cup," said Nakazawa, one of the few Japan players to emerge from Germany with credit.

"I felt the pull of playing in the Japan shirt again and if I'm needed then I'm ready to come in."

Japan coach Ivica Osim will see his players for the first time this year during a five-day training camp which begins on Thursday.

The Asian champions face Peru in a friendly on March 24 in their first game of 2007.

The 28-year-old Nakazawa has been capped 53 times by his country and has chipped in with nine goals -- some of them vital to Japan's successful Asian Cup defence in 2004.

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