Japan football stars raise funds for earthquake victims

Posted on by SoccerPunter

Japanese internationals past and present battled head-on in Osaka Tuesday to raise funds for victims of the country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami at an all-star football match.

Before a roaring sell-out crowd at the 47,000-capacity Nagai Stadium, Alberto Zaccheroni’s Blue Samurai beat a J-League select side, including many former internationals, 2-1.

Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo opened the scoring with a free kick in the 15th minute and Stuggart striker Shinji Okazaki doubled the score five minutes later for the Blue Samurai.

But Kazuyoshi Miura, the oldest J-League player at 44, pulled one back on 82 minutes when he took a headed pass from Marcus Tulio Tanaka in the box and slotted beyond substitute Samurai goalkeeper Masaaki Higashiguchi.

“It was your support which gave us great power when we usually fought on the pitch,” Japan captain and Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe said as the players gathered on the pitch before a silent prayer and the 7:20 pm (1020 GMT) kick-off.

“Now it is our turn to support you. Believing in the power of football, we will play our heart out,” said the 27-year-old, one of the 12 players released by European clubs for the event.

The charity match, following the catastrophe which devastated the country’s northeast coast, brought together the Blue Samurai for the first time since they lifted a record fourth Asian Cup title in Qatar just two months ago.

It was held under floodlights as western Japan has been spared the rolling blackouts caused by damage to power facilities, including a nuclear plant some 580 kilometres (360 miles) northeast of Osaka.

The J-League has shut down its regular season for five rounds until mid-April to save the electricity used to stage night matches.

Supporters, who paid up to 5,000 yen ($60) a head, chanted: “Nippon, Nippon.” Banners read “Gambare (Hang on), Nippon,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” or “World Football Family, Arigato (Thank you).”

Proceeds from the match will go to the disaster areas, according to the Japan Football Association.

Endo’s 20-metre free-kick came after CSKA Moscow midfielder Keisuke Honda was fouled by Kawasaki’s Kengo Nakamura outside the box. Okazaki trapped a through pass and slotted past former international goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki.

Zaccheroni, who took over Japan after they reached the last 16 at last year’s World Cup, and J-League coach Dragan Stojkovic, the Serbian manager of league champions Nagoya Grampus, used almost all of their players — 24 out of the 26 Samurai and all 20 from the J-League side.

Stojkovic sent on Miura, the 1993 Asian Footballer of the Year, and former Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura, 32, in the second half.

“Technically, it turned out to be a great quality match with a plenty of quality players,” said 57-year-old Zaccheroni, a former AC Milan boss.

“For the J-League side, Miura scored a goal which symbolised his career,” he said. “I’ve never felt happy before for yielding a goal.”

“I believe that the sympathy and compassion which we showed today will be helpful for the disaster victims in their reconstruction effort.”

Stojkovic, 46, said that the disaster victims must have realised “they were not alone. We are always with them.”

Prior to the match, supporters donated a total 15 million yen ($184,000) while attending open practice sessions over three days.

Be the first to comment:

Write a detailed comment of at least 350 characters to earn a reward point.
Results and Fixtures

Top Soccer Tipsters
Today Predictions in Tipsters Competition
Unknown Jaygobal posts a In-Play Half Time / Full Time tip on Palmeiras vs Cruzeiro
25 minutes ago
Unknown Jaygobal posts a In-Play Over / Under tip on Palmeiras vs Cruzeiro
25 minutes ago
Unknown emi posts a In-Play 1X2 tip on Tombense vs Figueirense
38 minutes ago
Unknown SanityCompass posts a In-Play 1X2 tip on Inter Miami vs Chicago Fire
1 hour and 4 minutes ago
Unknown SanityCompass posts a In-Play Both Teams to Score tip on New York RB vs Cincinnati
1 hour and 6 minutes ago
Unknown SanityCompass posts a In-Play Over / Under tip on CF Montréal vs Toronto
1 hour and 8 minutes ago
Unknown SanityCompass posts a In-Play Over / Under tip on CF Montréal vs Toronto
1 hour and 8 minutes ago
Unknown BB3030 posts a Over/Under - 1st Half tip on Wilstermann vs San Antonio Bulo Bulo
1 hour and 22 minutes ago
Unknown jackylim64 posts a Asian Handicap tip on Grêmio vs Vitória
1 hour and 28 minutes ago
Unknown jackylim64 posts a Asian Handicap tip on Palmeiras vs Cruzeiro
1 hour and 28 minutes ago
News Headlines
Superior H2H Statistics
H2H Home Team Advantage
H2H Away Team Advantage
Top Football Clubs
Worst Football Clubs
Top Draw Teams
Good Home Teams
Poor Away Teams
Platinum Membership Testimonial

Top Singles Tipsters
In-Form Tipsters
Out of Form Tipsters
Tipsters Competition
Tipsters Competition Review
Soccer Predictions
Soccer Tips

Be a fan of our Twitter and Facebook Page
Soccer Analysis

Arbitrage Picks

Arbitrage is an effective way to make guaranteed profits without losing your money.

Soccer Statistics H2H

Soccer Statistics

Analyze soccer matches, inclusive of past results, head to head stats, today match fixtures, live soccer odds, players and team form.



Check the latest and fastest live score results for all football matches. Know who are the goalscorers, yellow card and red card offenders.

Soccer Bet Help
Pick a Country or Region

Get the listings of soccer leagues and competitions for each region, including past seasons results and football statistics.

Match Preview and News

Copyright © 2002-2024 SoccerPunter Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.