Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima has insisted Japan still believe in themselves as they prepare for a must-win game to keep their FIFA World Cup™ hopes alive.

Coach Alberto Zaccheroni admitted he could be forced into a radical rethink after a 2-1 loss to Côte d'Ivoiret on Saturday, during which the Asian champions took the lead only to see the Africans hit back with two goals.

The veteran Italian coach had some strong words, saying he expected more from his players, who were out-fought in Recife by the Ivorians.

Japan next face Greece in Natal on Thursday before tackling Colombia in Cuiaba on 24 June,

"It's important that we are fresh for the next game," said Kawashima. "We have to change our mindset for the next game. We just have to give 100 per cent to win the game."

"We have a good group and we have confidence as well, so we can't lose our next game. We believe in ourselves."

Manchester United playmaker Shinji Kagawa was asked whether it would benefit Japan to play Greece next as opposed to Group C leaders Colombia, who may have already qualified by the time the teams meet. But he said the order of games did not matter.

When questioned about whether he felt fresh after not featuring regularly for United last season, Kagawa said it was difficult to compare the two situations: "It's different playing for a club team and the national team."