If the Qantas Socceroos are going to be extra wary of one Blue Samurai, then that man is Shinji Kagawa.
Qantas Socceroo defender Sasa Ognenovski has pinpointed Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa as the man to watch come the FIFA World Cup Qualifier against the Blue Samurai in Brisbane.
And with the Borussia Dortmund star reportedly being targeted for a move to Premier League powerhouse Manchester United it-s little wonder that Ognenovski has a healthy respect for the ever-improving star.
“Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund is one player we will have to keep a really close eye on,” Ognenovski said.
“He has been an integral part of Borussia Dortmund in their back-to-back championships in the Bundesliga and I think is an integral part to that Japanese team.”
Ognenovski is one of thirteen current Qantas Socceroo squad members that faced Japan in the final of the AFC Asian Cup in January 2011.
Although not on the winning side on that occasion, Ognenovski has fond memories of another of Australia-s meetings with Japan.
“When we beat in the 2006 World Cup, 3-1, that-s my best memory of Japan/Australia,” said Ognenovski.
“I watched it at home, it was an amazing game, tactically by the coach, it was amazing to keep some of your best players on the bench and then bring them on and they changed the game.
“We won and it put us on the right foot to qualify for the next round.”
The Qantas Socceroos begin their final phase of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a clash against Oman in Muscat on Friday, 8 June.
Soon after, the Qantas Socceroos will host Japan in their first home fixture of the fourth stage of Asia-s FIFA World Cup qualification process on Tuesday, 12 June at Brisbane-s Suncorp Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm.
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