'Japan must be stronger'

JAPAN coach Takeshi Okada's ambitions of making the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa were put into perspective after the Blue Samurais were mauled 0-3 mauled by the Netherlands.

JAPAN coach Takeshi Okada's ambitions of making the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa were put into perspective after the Blue Samurais were mauled 0-3 mauled by the Netherlands.

Okada said his players' mental endurance had to improve if Japan are to reach the top-four World Cup finish, following his team's late collapse against a disciplined Dutch side.

"I knew we would not last for 90 minutes, but unless we manage to maintain our strength throughout the game, there is no hope for our World Cup goal," Okada told reporters.

Japan dominated the initial stages only to crumble after Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie opened the scoring. Japan was overwhelmed by the display of speed and stamina offered by Holland. "It was a fun game. But it was 0-3 before I realised," said defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka. - Sapa-AFP

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