SAITAMA, Japan - Iraq coach Zico has been forced into selecting an untried line-up for the tough World Cup qualifier against Japan after his team failed to secure any warm-up friendlies.
The former Brazil star, who led Japan to Asian Cup glory in 2004, said he was taking "risks" after making wholesale changes to his squad, and then being unable to give them a run-out during last week's international window.
"I had to drop players who couldn't find a club to play for, and we also lost three players during our training camp in South Korea," Zico said.
"I've also included seven from the Olympic team and I basically picked the fittest and most technical players available."
"I'm aware of the risks of having changed so many players and there's no denying we have not had enough games leading up to this match," he added, according to Kyodo news agency.