Pre-tournament favourites make an early exit as Japan win on penalties.
|Japan’s Shunsuke Nakamura slots home his penalty
against Australia [AFP]
Japan’s Shunsuke Nakamura has a secret formula for keeping himself in peak condition during the Asian Cup: germanium baths.
The Celtic midfielder has been soaking in detoxifying minerals to soothe his aches and pains as he leads Japan’s quest to win a third straight title.
“I’m bathing in lots of different ‘onsen’ (Japanese hot spring) minerals,” Nakamura said.
“We’re in the hotel for long periods so you have to enjoy small creature comforts like bath-time. It’s more fun getting in a bath with an interesting colour than plain water.”
Nakamura has been the driving force behind Japan’s run to the Asian Cup semi-finals but the suffocating humidity has begun to take its toll on the players.
Japan has thousands of natural hot springs and the players, are trying to recreate that “onsen feel” in Vietnam.
“The coaching staff brought some bathing ingredients from Japan for us too — onsen minerals or something,” said Nakamura.
“I think there was germanium too. I also got some from fans at the airport when we left. It helps get rid of fatigue and lets you sleep well.”
Germanium promises to increase your internal oxygen levels by improving blood circulation while also promoting cellular regeneration and boosting your
Who’ll win the Asian Cup?
Basically, it helps ease muscle pain quickly.
It is also commonly used to improve users skin.
“It says on the packet it’s good for my skin,” laughed the 29-year-old Nakamura.
“I’m not sure it’s helped my face but it’s smooth. I think it’s from (hot spring resort) Hakone.
“I have a dip about twice a day but you can’t stay in too long or it makes your muscles too relaxed.”
The power in the noodles
The Japan side, who face Saudi Arabia in Wednesday’s semi-finals, have left no stone unturned in their bid to win the Asian Cup with painstaking detail also paid to dietary intake.
“Bathing and stretching are important but so is eating a balanced diet,” said Nakamura.
“We have our team cook from Japan with us but we also get Vietnamese noodles every other day.
“Just don’t ask me if the food tastes better than in Scotland!”
Despite the heat, Scotland’s player of the year wears his tracksuit done up to his nose.
“I was the first off after training so I got the job of ball-boy,” he grinned.
“The tracksuit? I’m boiling but I’m getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, that’s why I’m all zipped up.”