2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™

9 June - 9 July

2006 FIFA World Cup™

Japan shivering in Bonn

Japan's 'Blue Samurai' are complaining of blue fingers and numb toes at their FIFA World Cup™ base as they struggle to get to grips with the German weather.

The samurai warrior spirit has been dispensed with in the rush for thermal gloves and many Japan players have been throwing on four layers of clothing to practice in the low temperatures.

"It's freezing, isn't it?" grumbled midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura, the zip of his tracksuit top pulled up to his nose.

"When it's this cold, it makes it harder to shake off the fatigue."

Japan's players have been shocked at how cold it has been since their arrival last weekend, with temperatures rarely climbing above 10 degrees Celsius.

Nakamura, not known for possessing samurai levels of toughness, has been battling a fever since landing in Germany, blaming the cabin pressure for giving him a sore throat.

The Celtic player, who is equally unimpressed with the weather in Scotland, has gone to extreme lengths to avoid picking up a cold, taking special care while bathing.

Japan coach Zico has also been taking precautions.

The Brazilian has been winding down practice earlier than usual, mindful of a bout of influenza that tore through the squad before a FIFA World Cup qualifier with Oman in February 2004.

"The coach has told us to be careful because of the cold weather," said Japan skipper Tsuneyasu Miyamoto. "It's easy to pick up injuries in this cold."

Japan reached the last 16 in balmy conditions at the 2002 World Cup, which they co-hosted with South Korea.

The Asian champions take on Australia in their opening Group F game on June 12 before games against Croatia and holders Brazil.

A hail storm before their 2-2 draw in a warm-up against tournament hosts Germany in midweek did little to ease Japan's misgivings about the weather.

Media pictures of snowfall in parts of Bavaria this week will have seemed like a cruel joke to the Japanese, particularly Teruyuki Moniwa, who was dragged from a beach in Hawaii as a late call-up.