Preparing for Japan-Australia
Japan plays against Australia Monday night in its FIFA World Cup opening match. According to NHK, many fans are eating the dish "katsudon" (pork on a bowl of rice), as the verb "katsu" also means "to win". About the game, Mainichi has more:
Japan will be playing in its third straight World Cup against a team that is making its first appearance in soccer's showcase event in 32 years. Japan coach Zico said Saturday his players aren't worried about Australia's height advantage.
"Sure they have a lot of tall players," Zico said. "But they're not all tall and if you mark them properly it's just like playing any other team."
Zico and his players know how important it is to secure three points in the Group F opener on Monday. A loss or a draw would be a big setback for Japan before it faces two tough opponents in Croatia and defending champion Brazil.
"The match against Australia is huge," Zico said. "They are a good team with many players who play in Europe but we've come a long way and I have confidence in my players."
Update: Australia won 3-1 and Japan's dream of a nice World Cup are more or less over.
(Photo of Japan's Yuji Nakazawa from The Mainichi)