Nagoya Grampus' Australia international striker Josh Kennedy is relishing the prospect of meeting Japan in the fourth round of AFC 2014 World Cup qualifying.
Speaking after Nagoya were held 1-1 in their AFC Champions League match against Central Coast in Gosford on Wednesday, the 29-cap Socceroo was asked his thoughts on his country's path to Brazil.
The two clashes - at home on June 12 and away on June 4, 2013 - against fellow group favourites Japan in particular caught the eye of Kennedy.
"I was quite happy, I always enjoy playing the Japanese national team and apart from that Asian Cup final [in 2011, which Australia lost 1-0 in extra-time], we've had good success over them," said Kennedy, who also revealed he spoke to Socceroos coach Holger Osieck before Wednesday's match.
"So I think over the years it's built up a good rivalry and I think they look forward to it as much as we do."
Kennedy has established himself as a proven performer for his J-League club since moving from then-Bundesliga outfit Karlsruhe in 2009, scoring 51 goals in 95 appearances in all competitions for Nagoya.
Fellow Socceroo Alex Brosque is now making his way in the J-League with Shimizu S-Pulse, having scored a double for his country in February's 4-2 win over Saudi Arabia.
When asked if Australia's front line during World Cup qualifying could feature two Japan-based forwards, Kennedy's response was positive: "I think if you look at both myself and Brosquey, we've both definitely improved and gone to the next level, I think, and it gives us a chance to improve our football, in terms of playing regularly, and also technical-wise.
"It'll be good to play alongside Brosquey; he's a smart player and a smart guy also."
As well as Japan, Australia share Group B with Jordan, Oman and Iraq. The Socceroos' campaign gets underway against Oman in Muscat on June 8, and Kennedy believes a good start in what looms as a tricky group is "very important".
"It's going to be tough, playing those countries takes its toll. A lot of us come from Asia, heading over that way, and the others come from Europe, so it's not like we're a two-hour flight away," he said.
"Saying that, it's going to be tough, but they've got to do the same thing; they've got to come to Australia."
On his club future, at least, Kennedy remains confident and happy to stay in Japan with Nagoya.
"Speak to my wife, yes. You never know. I mean, I'm enjoying my football, enjoying my life, and the kids and the family are settling in, so no rush to change it at the moment," he said.