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Samurai Blue coach Nishino tests four-man defense at World Cup training camp

Samurai Blue players engage in game-situation training in Seefeld, Austria, on June 4, 2018. (Mainichi)

SEEFELD, Austria -- Japan's national soccer squad tested out a four-man defensive formation during a training camp here on June 4 in preparation for the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Head coach Akira Nishino is trying to integrate a four-defender system with the more recent formation of three at the back. At the training camp he ordered both regular and reserve players to engage in a game situation implementing the four-defender system, believing it would not be difficult to revert to the older system.

Striker Shinji Okazaki, who plays for Leicester City in the English Premier League, said, "The head coach will provide options depending on the situation and the players will fit in with that."

Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, who plays with the French club FC Metz, meanwhile, stressed the importance of versatility.

"The formation is just one measure. It's more important to elevate a common perception of how to cope with various situations," he said.

(Japanese original by Shohei Oshima, Sports News Department)

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