When the J-League debuted in 1993, little did they know that football would become a big hit in baseball-obsessed Japan. But not only did the league make sports fan fall in love with the sport, it was also a trailblazer for Asian football. But while expensive foreign players proliferated the league then, today the J-League has become a source of local talent for European clubs and this is where world-class Japanese football players' talents are honed.
Japan national men's football team coach Alberto Zaccheroni has named a strong 26-man squad for the remaining World Cup qualifying matches against Australia on June 4 and Iraq on June 11. Despite being six points clear at the top of Group B, he is still fielding a full-strength team for the two games.
Borussia Dortmund’s manager Jurgen Klopp says that he is saddened by Japanese international midfielder Shinji Kagawa’s apparent misuse at Manchester United that it brings tears to his eyes. United, recently crowned English Premier League champions, had bought Kagawa last summer from Dortmund’s title-winning team to fill a known gap in the team’s midfield, but Kagawa has been relegated to a bit-part this season, because of injury and an array of attacking talent at United.
The Samurai Blue will welcome back defender Yuto Nagatomo to the squad after he was out for a few months due to a knee ligament injury. The Inter Milan full back says he is fully fit and is looking forward to play for Japan as they target World Cup 2014 qualification in their qualifying match against Australia on June 4.
It was a bittersweet day for Tokyo FC as they came back from a goal down to beat Albirex Niigata 2-1 in the Nabisco Cup knockout phase on Wednesday. But the win was not enough for them to advance to the knockout phase of the league cup tournament where only the top two teams per group will go on to face the four Asian Champions League clubs -- Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Vegalta Sendai, Urawa Reds and Kashiwa Reysol.
Japanese carmaker Honda is expected to make a big announcement soon that it will be returning to Formula One racing in 2015, as engine supplier to British team McLaren. The global automotive leaders will look to revive their championship-winning partnership with McLaren, as revealed by a company source on Wednesday.
Omiya Ardija is the surprise of the season in the J-League. They are on a 21-game unbeaten run and they're at the top of the table, three points ahead of Yokohama F Marinos. Before this season, their best ever finish was 12th in the table. And the team owes this current success to their coach, Zdenko Verdenik, who took over the team last June. He is one of several foreign football coaches that have found success in the J-League.
She was just 14 years old when Japan's Ai Fukuhara made her debut in the 2003 Paris world championships and then faced the first real big test of her career: she was up against top-seeded Zhang Yining of China in the quarterfinals. Even though she lost to Yining, she made everyone sit up and take notice of her. Now, 10 years later, she faces a somewhat similar situation. She has to beat the top seed Ding Ning from China if she makes it to the semifinals of the world championships.
In what is probably one of the biggest wins of his career, world number 14 Kei Nishikori dumps the defending champion, Roger Federer out of the Madrid Masters. The Japanese beat the Spaniard in three sets, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in the third round of the clay court tournament.