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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Japan Lose to USA In First of 9 Friendlies

Japan lost 3-2 to a below full-strength United States side in San Francisco yesterday. This isn't in itself worthy of much comment or even a particularly surprising result. What is interesting is that this is the first of NINE pre-World Cup games that Japan have scheduled. Count 'em...nine games, including matches against Germany and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

This is a country that is taking it's World Cup preparations seriously and is building a real team to compete in Germany this summer. And Bruce Arena seems to be doing the same with his USA side. The Japan match was the third they've played this year, including a 5-0 demolition of Norway.

This kind of rigorous approach to the tournament worked extremely well for Gus Hiddink's South Korea side before the 2002 Finals and it will stand both Japan and the USA in good stead this time around.

It's a shame that England aren't able to do the same thing. Our chances of winning the damn thing would be much improved, but I can't see the likes of Mourinho, Ferguson and Wenger releasing their best players for 9 friendlies between now and June.

posted by mark_s at 1:14 PM


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