Honda, Kagawa named to Japan squad for Ghana friendly

TOKYO (AP) Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa were named on Friday to Japan’s squad for an international friendly on May 30 against Ghana in Yokohama.

Japan is expected to name its 23-man squad for the World Cup on May 31, several days ahead of the June 4 deadline.

Friday’s announcement was the first indication of the players new head coach Akira Nishino has in mind for the World Cup.

Japan fired Vahid Halilhodzic as coach last month, only two months before the World Cup opens, and replaced him with Nishino.

Honda has seven goals with Mexican side Pachuca this season. The attacking midfielder, a mainstay on Japan’s recent World Cup squads, fell out of favor with Halilhodzic, who benched him during qualifying matches.

Japan will play in Group H at the World Cup with Colombia, Poland and Senegal.