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Japan midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata is optimistic that he can use his experience in helping Parma to Coppa Italia triumph to inspire his country in this summer's World Cup. "I will do my utmost to retain that winning feel for the World Cup," he said.

The two-time Asian Player of the Year, who added the Coppa Italia to the Serie A title he won last year with Roma, is on a high after finishing the season in top form after a disappointing start at Parma following his high-profile transfer.

But the win over Juventus, achieved on the away goals rule with Nakata netting the vital goal in Turin, has given the 25-year-old the perfect boost for the coming World Cup finals.

"The win was an excellent way to finish the season," he said. "I know winning trophies doesn't happen often. It requires good play and, most importantly, a bit of luck."

His club season over Nakata will now join up with the rest of the Japan squad, who have been in Europe preparing for the tournament.

"I want to blend back in with the team as quickly as possible," he said. "They have been together in Europe for ten days and there is a nice, relaxed atmosphere. I hope I can help lift the team spirit in time for the World Cup.

"I think it will be very important to value what we have in this team. My instinct tells me that if we believe in ourselves we can do well."

Nakata will return to Japan with the team and the co-hosts will announce their 23-man squad for the finals on Friday.

National team boss Philippe Troussier will not be in Tokyo for the announcement, choosing to stay in Europe to watch Group H opponents Belgium face France.

The Frenchman, however, praised the impact on the squad of Nakata and Uefa Cup winner Shinji Ono of Feyenoord.

"There is no question that they come back more confident each time, to the extent there is a stature about them now,'' he said.

"These successes are excellent for the players' confidence. It is also good for the image of Japanese football.

They have shown that Japanese players can succeed at the highest level in world football. I hope this will be an added impetus to their team-mates' motivation."
 
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