Japan's Endo off to Olympics

Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo has been picked as one of the three over-age players in Japan's squad for the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Beijing 2008, according to reports. The 28-year-old, who has scored six goals in 70 senior internationals, is renowned for his probing passes and shares set-piece duties with Celtic playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura.

Japan's Olympic coach Yasuharu Sorimachi said Gamba Osaka's president and manager had approved his plan to recruit Endo's for the tournament in Beijing. "They readily accepted my request and I feel grateful," Sorimachi said.

Endo said of the Olympics: "It is an important tournament in which every under-23 player wants to play. I want to give all I have for Japan if I am chosen."

Japan have also asked Vissel Kobe forward Yoshito Okubo, a former Real Mallorca player, to take one of the remaining over-age spots. Sorimachi is scheduled to name candidates for his Olympic squad next Monday, and announce the final squad in mid-July after a training camp at home.