Japan quash Nakamura fever scare
NUREMBERG, June 17: Japan have played down fears playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura could miss tomorrow's must-win Group F clash with Croatia after coming down with a fever.
''He's fine,'' Japan's media liaison officer Ichirota Fukushi told Reuters today. ''He's with the team as normal and he'll be at training with the team.'' Nakamura has hardly trained since suffering a bruised thigh in Japan's 3-1 defeat by Australia in their World Cup opener last Monday.
Team doctors said the midfielder had contracted a slight fever but insisted he was not in doubt for the Croatia game in Nuremberg.
Japan need to beat Croatia to stand any realistic chance of progressing with a match against world champions Brazil still to come.
The Asian champions reached the last 16 under Frenchman Philippe Troussier as 2002 World Cup co-hosts.
Current coach Zico has a full-strength squad available for tomorrow's game with wing-back Akira Kaji set to make his return to the side after recovering from a badly bruised ankle.