Honda: Japan can win the World Cup

The AC Milan attacker says he will not allow his belief in the side to waver as it prepares for its final warmup friendly with Zambia on Friday.
Japan star Keisuke Honda is adamant his team can cause an upset by winning the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

Alberto Zaccheroni's side was drawn against Colombia, Greece and Cote d'Ivoire in Group C, with former England striker Michael Owen just one of many who are tipping the Samurai Blue to challenge in the latter stages of the tournament.

Honda is fully confident Japan can challenge tournament favorites Brazil and Spain and even go all the way in the finals.

"I have kept saying about the aim to win the World Cup and it does not matter how other people think about it," the AC Milan attacker told reporters ahead of Japan's final warm up match against Zambia on Friday. "I could not be happier as a football player if there are more people to expect us to win it than before, as a result of having said that.

"I will never give up and persist in my belief."

The 27-year-old scored twice at the World Cup finals in South Africa and guided his team to the 2011 Asian Cup, though he has not found the net in his past three international appearances.

Honda also managed to score just one goal in 17 Serie A appearances for Milan following his switch from CSKA Moscow in January but he is hopeful of putting on a good show against Zambia in Florida.

"The game will be about how much we can replicate the actual first game against Cote d'Ivoire," he said. "Of course it is different to the actual first game, but I want to make sure of adjusting in details and we want it to be convincing one for us."

Japan kicks off its World Cup campaign against the Elephants on June 14.