Zaccheroni: Japan won't suffer in France
"I am very curious and eager to face France, but my hope is that we don't suffer," said the Italian, whose side have never beaten France. "In Asia, we're used to putting our rivals under pressure, but here it will probably be the opposite and this is new for us. France are naturally better than us, but I'm going to ask my team to give it their all," he said.
"[Didier] Deschamps has done very good work. He has made his team tight and solid. Up front he leaves his players with a lot of freedom. The most important thing, it's not the victory, but how we play our match and gain experience.
"Our goal is to participate in the World Cup and to look good. We have two years to prepare. Thanks to this match and the one against Brazil, two teams with style, we're going to gain experience," added Zaccheroni.
Zaccheroni, who coached AC Milan and other Serie A sides, took over the Blue Samurai after they reached the last 16 at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
Despite concerns about fitness among several of some players, especially those who don't get much playing time in Europe, the Italian is counting on Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa to help lift the team, with CSKA Moscow playmaker Keisuke Honda uncertain because of a calf injury.
"It's important that he's [Kagawa] near the goal because he's efficient up front. But in the team I prefer to play him on the left for the collective balance," explained Zaccheroni.
Japan, aiming for a fifth straight FIFA World Cup since their debut at France 1998, are leading Asian Group B with ten points from three wins and one draw. They will play their next qualifier away to Oman on 14 November.