It took him four years to get tough, but Japan coach Zico's bold selection of five strikers for the World Cup also represents a final throw of the dice.
Japan coach Zico was once again left scratching his head after the Asian champions were held to a 0-0 draw by a below-strength Scotland side on Saturday.
Iraq upset China 2-1 in neutral United Arab Emirates on Wednesday to throw their 2007 Asian Cup qualifying group wide open.
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter has reiterated his desire for clubs to field at least six homegrown players in order to limit the number of foreigners in their teams.
Gamba Osaka won 4-2 at Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday to become Japanese champions for the first time as city rivals Cerezo suffered final day heartbreak.
Japanese officials said on Wednesday that there was no way of proving that Tokyo Verdy's Kazuyuki Toda spat at David Beckham in a pre-season game.
Brazil striker Ronaldo scored twice when Real Madrid beat Japan's Jubilo Iwata 3-1 on Wednesday in the second of two pre-season games in Japan.
Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard said on Saturday that the Spanish champions were not planning to make any major signings before next season.
Japan will be wary of the threat posed by North Korea when they meet in the opening match of the final round of Asian World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
China's hopes of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup finals could disappear on Wednesday if they fail to collect a big win over Hong Kong.
China awoke on Thursday to the bitter reality that their hopes of reaching the 2006 World Cup were hanging by a thread.
Japan and China will be among five teams looking to book their spot in the next round of Asian World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday.
Pusan I-cons manager Ian Porterfield has criticised Chris Marsden for walking out on the South Korean club.
Japan coach Zico will argue statistics do not lie after two wins in two matches in the Asian 2006 World Cup qualifiers.
South Korea were held to a humiliating 0-0 away draw by the Maldives in a shock Asian World Cup qualifying result on Wednesday.
Japan's players have been plunging into steam baths to acclimatise for their Asian World Cup qualifier in sweltering Singapore on Wednesday.