Zico sticks with misfiring pair

Japan coach Zico will stick with misfiring strikers Atsushi Yanagisawa and Keiji Tamada in the Asian champions' must-win Confederations Cup clash with Brazil on Wednesday (Thursday morning AEST).

Japan coach Zico will stick with misfiring strikers Atsushi Yanagisawa and Keiji Tamada in the Asian champions' must-win Confederations Cup clash with Brazil on Wednesday (Thursday morning AEST).

Japan need to win against the world champions to progress to the semi-finals for the second time in three tournaments but the Brazilian has stuck with an attacking pair that was criticised for missing a string of chances in Sunday's 1-0 win over Greece.

Gamba Osaka striker Masashi Oguro came off the bench to score the only goal of the game against the Euro 2004 winners but his goal-scoring performance was not enough to earn only his second start in the blue of Japan.

"Tamada and Yanagisawa created a lot of chances and they opened up the defence for the midfield to have a chance to score," said Zico (pictured).

"Even though they missed the chance to score, that doesn't mean they played bad football."

"Oguro came on and scored, and he was very important for us at that moment, but we will start this match with Tamada and Yanagisawa."

A draw will be enough for the Brazilians to qualify for the last four and coach Carlos Alberto Parreira was happy to see Zico on the opposing bench rather than on the field.

"It's going to be special to see Zico again," said the man who guided Brazil to the World Cup in 1994.

"But there is no danger for Brazil because Zico is not going to play, Zico is going to be sitting down. There is no player in the Japanese team who can kick the ball like Zico did as a player."

Parreira refused to announce his starting line-up for the game, but denied there would be wholesale alterations to the team that lost 1-0 to Mexico on Sunday.

"There will be some changes but not as many as you think," he said. "We will keep the foundation of the team that has played the last games."

"Normally I give out the line-up but for special reasons, I don't want to give it now. I don't want to change the structure of the team. It will be the same."

"The team that plays on Wednesday will be a Brazil team with the same skill, the same talent and the same desire to win."

One of the most likely changes will see AC Milan goalkeeper Dida on the bench, with World Cup-winning custodian Marcos replacing him between the posts.

"For many years Brazil did not have good goalkeepers," said Parreira, "but now we have Marcos, who was one of the best at the World Cup, we have Dida, who has done well at AC Milan, and we have Gomes."
Source: PA Sport