Nakazawa sees hot weather as a plus

The defender says Japan will be in top shape when they meet Australia in the quarters.

    Japan's Yuji Nakazawa, left, is looking forward to
    going head-to-head with the Socceroos [EPA]

    Yuji Nakazawa, key Japan defender, believes the hot and humid weather in Vietnam will be an advantage for his side when they take on Australia in their Asian Cup quarter-final at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on Saturday.

    "We have already fought three matches here and I think it is a plus for us," Nakazawa said.

    "If we fight with brains, the weather will be a big advantage for Japan.

    "I expect Australia to be somewhat sluggish at the start because of the heat," added the 29-year-old Yokohama center back.

    Australia have had to travel to Hanoi for their quarter-final after finishing runners-up to Iraq in Group A, with the Middle Eastern team remaining in Bangkok for their second round match with Vietnam, who finished second in Group B.

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    The Socceroos, playing in their first Asian Cup, could only manage a 1-1 draw with Oman before losing 3-1 to Iraq, and scraped into the quarters on head-to-head record after finally conquering the heat to beat Thailand 4-0.

    Japan finished top of Group B, beating Gulf Cup champions United Arab Emirates 3-1 and spirited co-hosts Vietnam 4-1 after drawing 1-1 with Qatar.

    "We haven't had to move and were given four days before the next match," added Nakazawa.

    "We will face Australia in a very good condition."

    The last-eight battle with the Socceroos, who switched to the Asian confederation from Oceania after the World Cup last year, is a grudge match after Japan lost to them 3-1 at the World Cup in Germany.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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