JAPAN vs J. LEAGUE XI
Osaka, 29 March 2011, 19:20 local, 10:20 UK

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan two weeks ago, the Japanese national football team will host a very special charity match against a J. League XI, with proceeds going towards the ongoing disaster relief.

The devastating tragedy has left thousands of people dead and missing, while the ongoing nuclear situation remains a cause for concern. In search of a way to help those affected, the Japanese FA had originally planned to play scheduled friendlies against Montenegro and New Zealand, but both of those matches were called off for various reasons.

In the end, the best solution has been to schedule a charity match to replace the New Zealand game, where the Japanese national football team will face a team made up of the best and brightest from Japan’s national league, the J. League.

Although the match has been reported on by FIFA, they do not classify it as an international ‘A’ match, and as such it is not a UFWC title match. However we will still report on the game in support of the reigning UFWC champions.

The Japanese national team will feature a full squad, with star players Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki being among the players given permission by their clubs to take part in the match. Many of the squad’s members also play in the J. League, with their season being suspended until late April.

The J. League XI, also being referred to as the J. League TEAM AS ONE, will consist of 20 Japanese stars from the J. League, many of whom have already appeared for the national team. Among the stars in the team are six former MVPs (Most Valuable Player, the equivalent of Player of the Season) including Shunsuke Nakamura and Kazuyoshi ‘Kazu’ Miura.

The J. League XI will be coached by Dragan Stojkjovic from Serbia, who led Nagoya Grampus to victory in the J. League last season, winning the Manager of the Year award for his achievement.

The match will kick-off at 7.20pm local time (10.20am GMT) at Nagai Stadium in Osaka, away from the destruction of the tsunami.

We hope you will join us in supporting the Japanese nation for this match, which will surely be an event of high emotion, and will hopefully signal the beginning of the recovery process for a whole nation.

As we have mentioned in previous posts, you can find information on how to help those in need in Japan and elsewhere from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Japan Squad
Goalkeepers – Eiji Kawashima (Lierse SK), Masaki Higashiguchi (Albirex Niigata), Shusaku Nishikawa (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
Defenders – Daiki Iwamasa (Kashima Antlers), Yasuyuki Konno (FC Tokyo), Yuzo Kurihara (Yokohama F. Marinos), Masahiko Inoha (Kashima Antlers), Ryota Moriwaki (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Tomoaki Kajino (1FC Koln), Atsuto Uchida (FC Shalke 04), Maya Yoshida (VVV Venlo)
Midfielders – Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Yuki Abe (Leicester City), Makoto Hasebe (VfL Wolfsburg), Takuya Honda (Kashima Anlters), Hajime Hosogai (Augsburg), Yosuke Kashiwagi (Urawa Reds)
Forwards – Daisuke Matsui (Grenoble), Ryoichi Maeda (Jubilo Iwata), Jungo Fujimoto (Nagoya Grampus), Tadanari Lee (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shinji Okazaki (VfB Stuttgart), Akihiro Ienaga (RCD Mallorca), Keisuke Honda (CSKA Moscow), Takashi Inui (Cerezo Osaka)
Coach – Alberto Zaccheroni

J. League XI Squad
Goalkeepers – Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata), Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus)
Defenders – Toru Araiba (Kashima Antlers), Marcus Tulio Tanaka (Nagoya Grampus), Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F. Marinos), Takanobu Komiyama (Kawasaki Frontale), Teruyuki Moniwa (Cerezo Osaka)
Midfielders – Kunimitsu Sekiguchi (Vegalta Sendai), Shunsuke Nakamura (Yokohama F. Marinos), Ryang Yong Gi (Vegalta Sendai), Shinji Ono (Shimizu S-Pulse), Mitsuo Ogasawara (Kashima Antlers), Yuichi Komano (Jubilo Iwata), Kengo Nakamura (Kawasaki Frontale)0
Forwards – Genki Haraguchi (Urawa Reds), Yoshito Okubo (Vissel Kobe), Mike Havenaar (Ventforet Kofu), Hisato Sato (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Shoki Hirai (Gamba Osaka), Kazu Miura (Yokohama FC)
Coach – Dragan Stojkjovic (Nagoya Grampus)