Rapids' Kimura concerned about Japan

Says Japan cannot play like that against Netherlands, Denmark

The Colorado Rapids‘ Kosuke Kimura is clearly delighted that his native country gained the win in its opening game of the 2010 World Cup against Cameroon earlier today, but he has some concerns about the nature of Japan’s victory.

Japan snagged their first ever World Cup victory outside of their home soil with a 1-0 win over the Cameroon in Bloemfontein thanks to Keisuke Honda’s goal in the 39th minute. The Japanese were then essentially happy to soak up 45 minutes of Cameroon pressure, launching very few counter attacks for the whole of the second half.

Kimura, the only Japanese player in the MLS, said he had some concerns that his country would be able to perform in a similar way effectively against the other two teams in Group E, Denmark and the Netherlands.

“Cameroon are a physical side but, if they want to go further in the tournament, Japan will have to be braver going forward against the European teams that are much bigger and more athletic,” he said. “A win’s a win but they cannot defend like that for 45 minutes.”

Kimura said that there were also some issues regarding Japan’s counter attack. He compared Japan to South Korea, saying that South Korea were much more direct in their counterpunch in the 2-0 victory over Greece at the weekend.

“We weren’t really direct in attack,” he said. “South Korea were very good with three or four players. We just had two.”

However, the win sets up the Blue Samurai well for the next game —a tough test against the Dutch— in a difficult group for the Asians. “That will be a huge task,’ Kimura said.

The 26-year-old right back, an ever-present for the Rapids this season before injury hit last month, is slowly working his way back from a stress fracture. He will have an MRI scan later this week on his damaged left ankle.

“I’ve started running and hope to join the team next week,” he said. “There’s no pain, no discomfort.”

Kimura hopes to be back in the starting lineup when Colorado resume MLS league play June 26 on the road against Houston.

Join the Debate! MLSsoccer.com's "ExtraTime Radio" is LIVE every day during the World Cup, 5-7 pm ET. Call in at 888-MLS-GOAL.