Japan World Cup
Japan's fate will likely be sealed by crunch game with Ivory CoastFifa

Manager: Alberto Zaccheroni

World Ranking: 47

Best World Cup finish: Last 16 in 2002 and 2010

How they qualified: Cruised to top spot in Asian Group B

Fixtures: Group C - Ivory Coast (14 June), Greece (19 June) , Columbia (24 June)

Squad -

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima, Shusaku Nishikawa, Shuichi Gonda

Defenders: Masahiko Inoha, Yasuyuki Konno, Yuto Nagatomo, Masato Morishige, Atsuto Uchida, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Sakai, Gotoku Sakai

Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo, Makoto Hasebe, Toshihiro Aoyama, Hotaru Yamaguchi, Shinji Kagawa

Forwards: Keisuke Honda, Yoshito Okubo, Shinji Okazaki, Hiroshi Kiyotake, Yoichiro Kakitani, Manabu Saito, Yuya Osako

Expectations: The injury to Colombia's Radamel Falcao dealt the group favourites a blow but not one the South American's aren't expected to overcome to win Group C. That pits Japan against star-studded Ivory Coast in a shootout to see who will progress as runners up. While the Samurai Blue might not be able to out-muscle their opponents, manager Alberto Zaccheroni will rely on an arsenal of attackers in a 4-2-3-1 formation, including Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa, AC Milan's Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki, of Mainz and Japan's fourth top goalscorer, to supply the ammunition.

Star man: Shinji Okazaki - the 28-year-old averaged almost a goal every other game last season for German club Mainz, netting 15 in 33 games and his form at the World Cup will be crucial if Japan are to go one further than they did in South Africa in 2010 and make it to the quarter finals. With Kagawa and Honda pulling the strings alongside him, Okazaki will hope to he can add to his tally of 38 international goals.

Prediction: Group stages - Ivory Coast's Premier League stars of past and present will grab second spot, dumping Japan out at the earliest stage.