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Monday, March 24, 2003

Uruguayans will fly

Japan has switched a friendly against Uruguay, which was originally set to take place in the United States next week, with the game now being held in Tokyo next Friday, the Japan Football Association said Sunday.

Japan was scheduled to play both Uruguay and the United States in a mini tour of the U.S. next week but the JFA canceled the trip after the start of the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

All seven of Japan's European-based players selected for the U.S. tour, including Parma's Hidetoshi Nakata, Reggina midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura and Hamburg SV striker Naohiro Takahara, will join the squad for the match at National Stadium.

However, Yokohama F. Marinos defender Naoki Matsuda and veteran Jubilo Iwata forward Masashi Nakayama have both pulled out after picking up injuries in the opening J. League fixtures over the weekend.

"Both (Uruguay and Japan) agreed we could do with getting some match experience," said JFA general secretary Takeo Hirata.

Uruguay is set to arrive in Japan on Wednesday.

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