Shinji Kagawa learns value of true grit with Japan

Japan are currently gearing up for the Confederations Cup, ahead of Saturday's opening game with hosts Brazil in the tournament curtain-raiser in Brasilia. As well as Brazil, Japan must also contend with the might of Italy and Mexico in Group A, but Kagawa says the Asian champions need to start measuring themselves against the very best.

updated: June 14, 2013 11:00 IST
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Rio de Janeiro: Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa says Japan's hard-fought campaign to qualify for next year's World Cup has given him a better appreciation of what it takes to succeed at the top level.

Japan became the first country to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil when they drew 1-1 with Australia last week, but it was a success that was 21 gruelling months in the making.

Kagawa also endured a challenging first season at English champions United following his switch from Borussia Dortmund last year, flitting in and out of the side, but he believes such trials will only make him stronger.

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