Keiji Tamada: The sharpest sword
Don't give this blue samurai any opportunity to strike on goal
Born: April 11, 1980, in Urayasu, Japan
Clubs played for: Tamada is a veteran of the J-League and has played for only two teams in his 11-year career, Kashiwa Reysol and Nagoya Grampus. In over 250 club appearances, the Japanese striker has 60 goals.
International career: The 30-year-old has been a part of the national team since 2004, when he scored three goals in the 2004 Asian Cup to help Japan claim their third continental title. Tamada was part of he 2006 World Cup squad and scored two goals during World Cup qualifying as the Blue Samurai qualified for South Africa.
Why is he so special? Tamada is not strong, but he is well-balanced and that makes him hard to dispossess — he'll twist and sway while dribbling the ball, befuddling defenders. And when a defender decides to shove Tamada off the ball, the five-foot-eight striker will dip to the defender's weak side and run into open space.
His most famous moment: Tamada launched a canon ball into the top corner of the net during Japan's group stage match against Brazil in the 2006 World Cup. Brazil won the match 4-1, but Tamada's shocking goal stunned the world if only for a few minutes.
He said it: "It feels lonely when you are watching the national team from a distance, and I am so glad to be part of the setup and just try to do my best when I am picked. The World Cup is the stage that every footballer aspires to playing on."
What they are saying about him:"Tamada plays very well for us" Dragan Stojkovic - Nagoya Grampus
Here is an interesting fact: When asked if his unstoppable strike against Brazil was better than sex, Tamada said: "They [sex and scoring] are both very pleasant feelings and it's a tough one to compare."