Yuto Nagatomo has warned Japan to heed warnings from their disappointing World Cup campaign ahead of their Asian Cup defence.
Japan were drawn in a favourable Group C in Brazil earlier this year and many fancied them to progress from a pool that included Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast. However, the Asian nation flopped on the world’s biggest stage and exited the competition with just a solitary point to their name.
Alberto Zaccheroni subsequently resigned from his post as manager and Mexican Javier Aguirre assumed the reins. He faces his biggest test so far when the Asian Cup begins in Australia this month and Inter full-back Nagatomo is wary of Japan falling into the same trap that curtailed their World Cup hopes when they go toe-to-toe with Palestine, Iraq and Jordan in Group D.
“I think that they will be difficult games and there is no easy games to win to be honest with you,” Nagatomo said. “When it was the World Cup in Brazil, the media people also might have said that the team was in a relatively easy group to get through. However, we actually had difficult games and could not achieve good results. It is the same this time as well. If we think we’re in the easy group, the rug could be pulled from under us. So, firstly I need to prepare for our first game, and, in each game, I will be focused only on achieving a good result.”