For many Japanese, Brazil is synonymous with football.
It is home to Zico, 52, a hero of three world cups, as well as some 60 players, coaches and officials in the J-league’s first division.
Japan, the Asian champions, were lumped into group F with Australia, Brazil and Croatia at the weekend World Cup draw.
“I can grasp it in my head but it still feels peculiar. I had never imagined something like this,” Zico said in an interview with Japanese media in the German city of Leipzig.
He said he had breakfast with Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira on the morning of the draw and they had hoped not to be drawn in the same group.