World Cup - Japan forward Okubo handed recall

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni sprang a rare selection surprise by recalling Kawasaki Frontale forward Yoshito Okubo to his 23-man World Cup squad for Brazil on Monday after a two year absence.

World Cup - Japan forward Okubo handed recall

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Yu Kobayashi #11 of Kawasaki Frontale in action during the AFC Champions League Round of 16 match between Kawasaki Frontale and FC Seoul at Todoroki Stadium on May 7, 2014 (Getty)

The 31-year-old has been in top form for his club scoring eight times this season after being the lead marksman in the J.League last term, but he had long been overlooked by Zaccheroni.

The stocky striker had featured only once during the Italian's four years in charge, a 45 minute outing in a 2012 friendly win over Iceland, despite playing all four matches at the last World Cup in South Africa under previous coach Takeshi Okada.

However, the former VfL Wolfsburg and Real Mallorca forward will have the chance of adding to his caps in Group C clashes against Ivory Coast, Colombia and Greece when the tournament begins on June 12.

Yohei Toyoda, who has scored seven times for Sagan Tosu this season, was the man to miss out despite being tipped by some Japanese media to start in Brazil.

Sanfrecce Hiroshima midfielder Toshihiro Aoyama was another surprise inclusion in the Asian champions squad with Zaccheroni opting to ditch Hertha Berlin's Hajime Hosogai, who had been a regular under the Italian.

Captain Makoto Hasebe was named in the 23 after returning to action for FC Nuremberg on the weekend after a lengthy knee injury, as were defenders Atsuto Uchida and Maya Yoshida who were also fitness concerns.

The squad featured 12 overseas-based players including AC Milan playmaker Keisuke Honda, Inter Milan fullback Yuto Nagatomo and Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa.

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Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)

Defenders: Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96), Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart)

Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Makoto Hasebe (FC Nuremberg), Hiroshi Kiyotake (FC Nuremberg), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F. Marinos).

Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Yuya Osako (TSV Munich 1860), Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale)

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