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Japan coach warns against Qatar´s quality

3 July 2007 16:25

NARASHINO, Japan (AFP) - Japan coach Ivica Osim has warned of the good skills of opponents Qatar ahead of the sides' showdown in their Asian Cup opener next week.

"Qatar have quality players," Osim said Tuesday as his squad wound up a three-day training camp the day before leaving for Hanoi, the venue of Group B, which also includes Gulf Cup champions United Arab Emirates and hosts Vietnam.

The 66-year-old Bosnian, who led the former Yugoslavia to the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals, in particular mentioned Uruguay-born forward Sebastian Soria as a menace.

"Our information is that Qatar may place one forward upfront. We must cope with this," he said.

Osim, whose side are aiming for a third straight Asian Cup win, complained that his players were heavily fatigued as only last Saturday the J-League closed its spring-to-autumn series for the July 7-29 Asian Cup.

His 23-strong squad is all J-League stars except for Celtic playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura and Frankfurt striker Naohiro Takahara.

"Our opponents know that our players are tired. But that is what we know better than them. I must work out some measures," Osim said. "Training, training. What else can we do?"

Osim said Japan could take nothing for granted in their quest for a third cup victory.

"To underestimate the opponents is worse than losing a match," he said.

"Whatever result we may produce, it won't be the end for Japan's battle. The World Cup qualifying will start next year," said Osim, whose jersey bore a patchwork on the left arm reading "All for 2010."

Nakamura, who scored one goal and set up three others in a 6-1 win in a training match against a university side, said Qatar should not be dismissed.

"I saw videos of Qatar in action. The naturalised player from Uruguay is strong," he said, adding that some midfielders have good technique.

Speaking of his own hopes, Nakamura added: "I want to score when it matters most."

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