Friday, April 8, 2011

Ogura ponders South American mission

CONMEBOL have asked the JFA to think again after Japan withdrew from this summer's Copa America.
JFA President Junji Ogura told former FIFA Executive Committee colleagues Julio Grondona & Nicolas Leoz in Buenos Aires this week that Japan had no plans to travel to Argentina following the turmoil caused to the J-League after March's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

As it stands, the J-League is due to fulfill its postponed fixtures in July at the same time as the Copa America, creating a club v country headache.

Spain were hastily offered Japan's place but the JFA have now been given until Friday the 15th of April to decide whether to participate after all. CONMEBOL are understood to have tempted the JFA with a profit share to help disaster relief efforts in Japan.

In addition to the ten South American nations, Mexico once more make up the numbers in the twelve-team competition, which concludes on the 24th of July with the final in Buenos Aires' Estadio Monumental, home of River Plate.

Copa America 2011
- 1st - 24th July, Argentina
FIFA World Rankings in brackets

Group A
Argentina (4)
Colombia (50)
Bolivia (97)
Japan (15)/Spain (1)

Group B
Brazil (5)
Paraguay (24)
Ecuador (49)
Venezuela (63)

Group C
Uruguay (7)
Chile (14)
Peru (59)
Mexico (27)

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile; photo by Iman Simon.

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