Japan will hope star power can reverse their flagging fortunes after new coach Akira Nishino named his 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia on Thursday.
The former JFA technical director, who took charge after Vahid Halilhodzic was fired last month, signalled his intentions by turning to his old guard, including talismanic forward Keisuke Honda and playmaker Shinji Kagawa.
Japan, beaten 2-0 by Ghana on Wednesday in Nishino’s first game as coach, face Colombia, Senegal and Poland in Group H at the World Cup.
Squad (teams Japanese unless stated otherwise):
Goalkeepers — Eiji Kawashima (Metz/FRA), Masaaki Higashiguchi (Gamba Osaka), Kosuke Nakamura (Kashiwa).
Defenders — Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray/TUR), Tomoaki Makino (Urawa), Wataru Endo (Urawa), Maya Yoshida (Southampton/ENG), Hiroki Sakai (Marseille/FRA), Gotoku Sakai (Hamburg/GER), Gen Shoji, Naomichi Ueda (Kashima).
Midfielders — Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Keisuke Honda (Pachuca/MEX), Takashi Inui (Eibar/ESP), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund/GER), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Genki Haraguchi, (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER), Gaku Shibasaki (Getafe/ESP), Ryota Oshima (Kawasaki)
Forwards — Shinji Okazaki (Leicester/ENG), Yuya Osako (Werder Bremen/GER), Yoshinori Muto (Mainz/GER)