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World Cup: Zaccheroni laments Japan's lack of intensity

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni lamented his team's lack of intensity as they conceded two headers in three minutes to allow Ivory Coast to snatch all three points in their opening World Cup Group C game on Saturday.

RECIFE, Brazil: Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni lamented his team's lack of intensity as they conceded two headers in three minutes to allow Ivory Coast to snatch all three points in their opening World Cup Group C game on Saturday.

The Italian said he would analyse the performances of both himself and the team to find out why they did not reach their usual level.

"This morning the team was well, physically and mentally, and they started off well," the Italian told a news conference.

"I will have to analyse why they were unable to keep their performance level high."

Japan took the lead early in the first half through Keisuke Honda, but the introduction of Didier Drogba from the bench on the hour mark proved the catalyst for an Ivorian comeback, with Wilfried Bony and Gervinho scoring to turn the game around.

"Two goals in two minutes shows a lack of concentration," Zaccheroni said. "In the penalty area they are more physical and we should have prevented them from coming in and shooting freely in that position.

"We allowed their wide players to cross the ball in and should have done a better job in preventing that."

Japan had no answer to the power and pace of the Ivorians, and despite their best efforts they could not find a way back into the game.

"The players wanted to turn things around and they did not spare any effort. We did not do things together, and when we don't do things together sometimes we have difficulties," the 61-year-old said.

Coach of Japan since 2010, Zaccheroni said he was puzzled by his side's lack of shape and aggression in defence, but added that qualification from Group C, in which Colombia beat Greece 3-0 earlier on Saturday, was still possible.

"We have two matches coming up, we have to keep the morale high. We have played much better than this before, and when we do so we achieve results," he said.

"What we have done doesn't count that much. What counts is what we need to do."

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