Monday, November 29, 1999

Japan`s Honda goes into ambition overdrive

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Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda says his team will not be at the World Cup to make up the numbers, declaring: "We're in it to win it."Coach Takeshi Okada has been criticised for publicly saying that Japan's target in South Africa was the semi-finals, despite strong evidence pointing to another quick exit.Most Japan players have opted to bite their lips when asked about Okada's stated goal but Honda was more forthcoming on his arrival in Japan from Russia on Sunday."If we don't play our own game we won't produce the results we want," Honda told a news conference at Narita airport. "If we don't try to win there's no point being there."Japan face Cameroon, the Netherlands and Denmark in a daunting Group E and the 23-year-old CSKA Moscow player promised Japan would go on the offensive."All the teams we play are at a higher level so we have to have a go. I think Japan should be aiming to win the World Cup."Japan, yet to win a World Cup game on foreign soil, face Cameroon in their opening game on June 14.(Reporting by Alastair Himmer; Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email

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