Honda Fit For World Cup Qualifier Against Australia

by
Reuters
Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda has declared himself fit for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at home to Australia after playing over an hour of CSKA Moscow's Russian Cup final success on Saturday.

Honda

Japanese playmaker Keisuke Honda has declared himself fit for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier at home to Australia after playing over an hour of CSKA Moscow's Russian Cup final success on Saturday.

The bleach blond midfielder has been hampered by thigh problems in recent weeks and missed Japan's humbling defeat by Jordan in March when all the Asian champions needed was a point to become the first side to qualify for Brazil.

Honda played 67 minutes on Saturday before being replaced as CSKA beat Anzhi Makhachkala 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to complete a domestic double after their league success.

"I have got that far (in the game) and I don't think there will be any recurrence of the pain I have been feeling," Honda was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency.

"It is up to the coach (whether or not to play me) but hopefully I can prepare well for the (Australia) game. I really want to win."

Honda's return will be a welcome boost for Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, whose side slumped to a 2-0 home defeat by Bulgaria in a friendly on Friday.

A point against Australia in Saitama on Tuesday will book Japan a berth at the finals in Brazil before they play their final game in Group B against Iraq in Doha on June 11.

Japan then head straight to Brazil to play the Confederations Cup which will give Honda the opportunity to showcase his creative play and goalscoring talents to help push through a transfer away from Russia.

"I still have six months left (on my contract) but I think to some extent my work is done here. I just hope everything works out the way I want it to this summer," the 26-year-old said.