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Japan news

Nakamura retires from internationals

July 2, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Japan midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura has retired from international football after spending most of the World Cup on the bench.

Shunsuke Nakamura
GettyImagesShunsuke Nakamura: Made 98 appearances for Japan

Nakamura, 32, made 98 appearances for Japan after making his debut in 1998, and in the years following the 2006 World Cup, while he was starring for Scottish club Celtic, he was recognised as the team's poster boy and creative hub. He is well known for his deadly set pieces which helped make him a fan favourite with Celtic and his national team.

After an unsuccessful spell with Espanyol in 2009, he returned to hometown J-League side Yokohama F Marinos ahead of the 2010 season and Takeshi Okada took the difficult pre-World Cup decision to relegate Nakamura to Japan's bench, with the attack instead built around emerging starKeisuke Honda.

When asked by Japanese media about his next match for the Blue Samurai, Nakamura said: "There won't be one for me. I'm through."

Nakamura made one substitute appearance at the World Cup, in Japan's 1-0 loss to the Netherlands in the group stage. Of his demotion from the first XI, he told reporters earlier this week: "I didn't really want to talk about it up until now because I knew that's all people would ask me about. I felt bad about not speaking all this time, but it wasn't easy for me.

"It's a shame I couldn't do anything on the pitch, but I learned a lot. I have to accept the fact that I wasn't good enough. But I don't think my time has been wasted. This is life in soccer."