TOKYO (AP) — Japan will be without CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda and Inter Milan defender Yuto Nagatomo for its World Cup qualifying match against Jordan at Amman on March 26.
Nagatomo is recovering from a knee injury. CSKA Moscow said Honda is unfit, but has not elaborated on the specifics of his condition.
The 23-man squad named by Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni on Thursday does include 13 Europe-based players including Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa and Stuttgart forward Shinji Okazaki, who scored twice against Latvia in a friendly last month.
"Everyone knows how highly I value (Honda and Nagatomo) but it's not the first time we have been without them," Zaccheroni said. "The players who have replaced them have always done a good job."
The squad will warm up for the Jordan match with a friendly against Canada at Doha on March 22. A win for Zaccheroni's side against Jordan should secure it a place at Brazil 2014.
A draw would also be enough to earn Japan one of the two automatic World Cup places from their group if Oman can hold Australia to a draw.
Forward Yuki Otsu of Dutch club VVV Venlo retains his place in the squad after making his debut as a substitute against Latvia.
Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo)
Defenders: Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama F Marinos), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart)
Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale), Makoto Hasebe (Wolfsburg), Hajime Hosogai (Bayer Leverkusen), Hideto Takahashi (FC Tokyo)
Forwards: Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Shinji Okazaki (Stuttgart), Mike Havenaar (Vitesse Arnhem), Takashi Inui (Eintracht Frankfurt), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hiroshi Kiyotake (Nuremberg), Yuki Otsu (VVV Venlo).