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Japan to World Cup

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May is usually part of the low season for the alpine resort of Saas Fee. This year, though, the village in the Swiss Alps is being honored with a special visit. The Japanese national football team is spending 2 weeks training there before heading to South Africa for the World Cup. The players were welcomed by the local authorities, as well as by local school children, who even learned some Japanese for the occasion. Just a few hours after their arrival, the team gathered for their first training session. Saas Fee built a new pitch for the Japanese to comply with rules of FIFA, the international football body. So what do the players think about the conditions 1,800 meters above sea level? Breathing is more difficult. The ball flies and rolls a bit further than usual, even if we don't kick it so hard. We still have to get used to this. The air is good. The view is beautiful. And the people are nice. You feel at peace here. It's the best place to recharge your batteries. There are football fans looking on, of course. About one hundred journalists are also following the training sessions - most of them from Japan. How important is football for the Japanese today? It's the fourth World Cup for Japan. But, honestly, unlike last time, we don't have any big stars. And the team did poorly in recent games. It's all about their state of mind. We will soon find out whether they can improve. On May 30th, Japan will play against England in a friendly match in Graz, Austria. In the game against England, we can test how we cope against a strong team. I am looking forward to it. After another exhibition match against Ivory Coast, the Japanese will leave Saas Fee for South Africa on June the 5th. They will play their first World Cup match against Cameroon. Cameroon have players, like Etoh, who can score at the decisive moment. It's all about being able to take your chances. I always have to be fully concentrated to play my best. Preparations are crucial for these professionals. But there is still time to take a break and enjoy the Swiss Alps.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 18 seconds
Country: Switzerland
Language: English
Producer: swissinfo.ch
Director: swissinfo.ch
Views: 138
Posted by: greenbo on Jul 9, 2010

Saas Fee village in Switzerland hosts the Japanese soccer team on its way to the 2010 World Cup.

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