[World Cup] Key Player Review: Japan – Shinji Okazaki

Japan boast tremendous technical quality in the centre of midfield, with Makoto Hasebe and Yasuhito Endo controlling matches from deep, then Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa providing the outright creativity in the final third.

What they really lack, however, is a reliable finisher, someone who will ensure they win games, rather than simply dominating them.

Okazaki could be that man. His international goalscoring record has always been decent—he’s currently on 38 in 73—but many of these matches have been against inferior sides.

More pertinent is the fact he hit 15 Bundesliga goals for Mainz this season, a huge turnaround having managed just 10 in his previous two-and-a-half Bundesliga seasons combined.

Capable of playing from the right or up front, he should get plenty of goalscoring chances.



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