Japan to play Costa Rica, Zambia before World Cup

Japan to play Costa Rica, Zambia before World Cup

Asian champions Japan will play Costa Rica and Zambia in Florida in early June as their final warm-up matches before the World Cup in Brazil, the country’s soccer association said on Friday.

Japan will play Cyprus at home in Saitama on May 27 before they travel to the United States ahead of the June 12-July 13 tournament in Brazil.

Alberto Zaccheroni’s team will play the games against Costa Rica (June 2) and Zambia (June 6) at the Raymond James Stadium, home to National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“I chose Florida as a campsite because we need to acclimatise to the heat and humidity in Brazil while minimising the travel,” Zaccheroni was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency. “Florida made for the ideal destination.

“Costa Rica are a side good enough to qualify for the World Cup, and Zambia’s march to the African Nations Cup title (in 2012) is stillfresh in my memory.

“These two games will be extremely important when we bear in mind what kind of these teams we will be up against at the World Cup.”

Japan are in Group C in the World Cup finals with Colombia, Greece and Ivory Coast as the other teams. Costa Rica are in Group D with Italy, Uruguay and England.

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