Japan's next generation ready to rise against Brazil

Japan national team coach Javier Aguirre and veteran goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima are both eager to see the next crop of emerging Japanese youngsters stake their claim for a permanent spot with the Samurai Blue.

Despite missing star player Shinji Kagawa, who suffered a concussion against Jamaica, former Mexico and Atletico Madrid coach Aguirre is still confident of putting on a good show against Brazil in their international friendly on Tuesday evening at the Sports Hub in Singapore.

The Mexican took over the hot seat from Italian tactician Alberto Zaccheroni and has wasted no time in cultivating the future blueprint for the national team by calling up some of Japan's brightest starlets like Kashima Antlers' Gaku Shibasaki and Nagoya Grampus midfielder Taishi Taguchi.

With one loss (0-2 Uruguay), one draw (2-2 Venezuela) and a 1-0 win against Jamaica since taking charge, Aguirre has yet to win over the hearts of Japanese fans despite going with an offensive 4-3-3 formation in those games that he feels will bring out the qualities of attackers like Keisuke Honda and Kagawa.

Speaking to journalists at the Sports Hub on Monday evening after Japan's final training session before the match, he lamented the media's suggestion that his team lacked passion and reiterated his belief that Japan is on the right track as they work towards defending their Asian Cup title come January.

"I can understand if you say we didn't play well, maybe we can argue that but whether we had passion? I don't agree with that at all. Tomorrow's match against Brazil will be tough but I am sure we will play with determination. You don't have to worry about that." Aguirre rebutted.

"As for Asian Games preparation, we have already scheduled six friendlies before the tournament begins in January and will use these matches to find my 23 best players. Surprisingly, I have found so many good talents in the J-League and we have more than 20 players plying their trade overseas so we have an abundance of talent."

While the first objective for the Japanese is to retain their Asian title in 2015, Aguirre is glad to have an opportunity to test his players out against a top team like Brazil here in Singapore.

He said: "I am grateful we are able to play against a top-class team like Brazil. They have a lot of world class talents and it will be a great experience for us. We can't wait to show everyone our own strengths but it will be tough as Brazil have played three games [since the World Cup] and have yet to concede a goal."

Veteran stopper Kawashima -- who has 61 caps -- was equally supportive of his new coach's ideology of giving the next generation of Japanese players a chance to impress with the Samurai Blues.

He said: "Just like Brazil, we have a new coach and he has brought in many youngsters who have a lot of potential but are less experienced than before. We have been playing the last four years with almost the same group of players and it is time to build a new team around these young players."

The Standard Liege keeper, one of eight Japanese players in the squad who currently ply their trade in Europe is equally impressed by Aguirre's tactical nous which allows the players to express and dictate the game more than they used to under Zaccheroni.

"The new coach has introduced his own tactics to the team where the players are encouraged to take up more responsibility and react differently in various situations on the pitch. It is different but I think it is a great chance for us to push on and take Japanese football to the next level." he added.

Japan will likely ring the changes to their starting lineup from the one that played against Jamaica over the weekend as Aguirre hinted that Brazil are a stronger opponent and will give him a chance to look at some of the emerging talents like Daisuke Suzuki and Ryota Morioka.

He said: "There will be at least six changes from the lineup against Jamaica because of the quality of the opponent and I want the players to show their strengths as I continue finding out who the best players are for the Asian Cup."

The match will kick off on Tuesday evening in front of a sold out crowd of 54,000 at the newly constructed Sports Hub in Kallang, Singapore.