Kagawa wants to show Japan's worth

Shinji Kagawa said Japan are determined to show the world their true potential as they prepare for their Group C opener against Ivory Coast.

- 50-50 Challenge: Ivory Coast vs. Japan

Japan have enjoyed great success in their home continent over the last quarter of a century and are the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions, having claimed a record fourth title when seeing off Australia in the 2011 final.

However, they have yet to truly make their mark at a World Cup, with their appearances in the round of 16 in 2002 and 2010 representing their most successful campaigns to date.

Kagawa hopes his side -- who became the first team to qualify for this year's tournament -- can put themselves on the football map in Brazil.

"We want the world to find out about Japan and how well we're capable of playing, because I still don't think we're that well known yet around the world," the Kyodo news agency quoted him Manchester United midfielder as saying.

Japan will also face Greece and Colombia in Group C and Kagawa feels securing a positive result against Ivory Coast will be key to their hopes of progression.

"We've always felt the first game is crucial," he said. "We need to have faith in one another and keep fighting."

He added: "We've got to play as a team at both ends of the pitch in order for us to have a chance of winning. Everyone has to work hard.

"Most teams tend to be conservative in the first game. Not a whole lot separates you from the opposition -- it's about concentration, or one lapse of it. We believe we can do it, and we've got to believe we can do it. I'm excited."

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