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Japan coach gets Uruguay wish
April 15, 2013 / 10:27 AM / 5 years ago

Japan coach gets Uruguay wish

(Reuters) - Asian champions Japan will host Copa America winners Uruguay in an August friendly after coach Alberto Zaccheroni pleaded to the JFA for tougher competition.

Japan's head coach Alberto Zaccheroni of Italy speaks during a news conference before their World Cup qualifying match against Jordan, which will be held on Tuesday, in Amman March 25, 2013. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

The clash will take place at the Miyagi Stadium on August14.

“Uruguay are among the top teams in the world, with individual quality and sophisticated tactics,” Zaccheroni told Japanese media on Monday.

“I pleaded with the JFA to fix this match because we need it to further develop the team by playing the strongest sides.”

The two sides could also meet in the knockout stages of June’s Confederations Cup in Brazil if they advance from the group stage after being drawn in separate pools.

Zaccheroni’s Japan missed a chance to become the first team to qualify for the World Cup finals next year when they were humbled 2-1 by Jordan last month.

The result meant Japan slipped to 29th in the FIFA rankings released on Thursday, but remained Asia’s best ranked side.

The Italian coach has long called for fixtures against the sport’s elite in order to improve his side’s competitiveness at World Cups.

Japan have beaten Canada and Latvia in recent friendlies. Last year they were thrashed 4-0 by World Cup hosts Brazil after surprising former winners France 1-0 in Paris.

Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore; Editing by John O'Brien

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