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Friday, Aug. 20, 2010

Japan wants to use Euro stars in upcoming friendlies

Kyodo News

The Japan Football Association said Thursday it plans to ask the clubs of eight European-based national team players for their release for next month's friendlies against Paraguay and Guatemala.

The JFA hopes to be given permission to call up CSKA Moscow's Keisuke Honda and fellow midfielders Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble), Makoto Hasebe (VfL Wolfsburg), Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund), defenders Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04) and Yuto Nagatomo (A.C. Cesena), striker Takayuki Morimoto (Catania) and goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima (Lierse SK) for the matches in Yokohama on Sept. 4 and Osaka on Sept. 7.

The meeting with Paraguay will be Japan's first match since the same team knocked them out of the World Cup finals on penalties in the second round in South Africa in June.

The JFA has yet to select a new coach to replace Takeshi Okada, who stepped down after taking Japan to the second round for the first time at a World Cup played on foreign soil.

JFA President Junji Ogura said Wednesday that Japan's first match under Okada's successor may be delayed until October. The Blue Samurai play yet-to-be-named opponents on Oct. 8 in Saitama and visit South Korea four days later.

The JFA plans to announce the squad for the Paraguay and Guatemala matches and the acting coach around Aug. 25.

Meeting agenda

Kyodo News

The 2012 East Asian championship scheduled to be held in South Korea could be moved to August 2013, and then held every other year from then on, Japan Football Association President Junji Ogura said Thursday.

The move is set to be discussed at an East Asian Football Federation general assembly next Tuesday.

The biennial tournament is rotated between Japan, which held the 2010 edition, South Korea and China.

The aim of the tournament is to strengthen the senior national teams of the competing nations and the proposal to switch the next championship to 2013 was made so that countries would not field their Under-23 teams to prepare for the 2012 London Olympics.

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