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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Football

Japan hope to avoid early elimination
AFP
Rio de Janeiro, June 19, 2013
First Published: 00:17 IST(19/6/2013)
Last Updated: 02:32 IST(19/6/2013)

The task facing both Asian champions Japan and three-time world champions Italy is clear cut in Recife at the Confederations Cup.

An Italian win, on the heels of Sunday's success over Olympic champions Mexico should propel the Azzurri into the semi-finals, while also ending the Blue Samurais' interest in this summer's event.

The pressure is off Japan to a large extent in that, aside from World Cup and Confederations hosts Brazil they are the only side competing here who have already booked their tickers for next summer's jamboree.

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In going down 3-0 to Brazil in the opening match, Alberto Zaccheroni's Japanese showed the effects of a long, yet successful, qualifying World Cup campaign - they only arrived 72 hours after seeing off Iraq. They also showed that they are at this stage a work in progress with 12 months to  go for the World Cup.


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