Belarus to host Japan in first ever international football friendly
11:02, — Sport
The Belarusian national football team are about to finish the 2013 season with a match against Japan at the Torpedo stadium in Zhodino.
The game will be officiated by the Lithuanian referee brigade headed by Sergejus Sliva.
The match will kick off at 15h15. Such an unusual time is connected with the difference in time zones (kick-off time in Tokyo is 21h15) and a request from the Japanese TV which will give a live broadcast from Zhodino.
The Japanese team is coached by Italian specialist Alberto Zaccheroni and the team squad includes players from the world’s major clubs such as Italy’s FC Internazionale, Germany’s Schalke 04 and Nurnberg, England’s Southampton and Manchester United, Russia’s Spartak Moskva and other clubs.
Japan currently lie in 42nd place in the FIFA world rankings, while Belarus sits in 80th place. This will be the first ever match between these two sides. Both of them played their matches on 11 October. Belarus lost 1-2 at Spain away while Japan traveled to Belgrade where they were beaten 0-2 in a friendly match against the Serbian national team.
Belarus finished the 2014 World Cup qualification in the fifth place in their Group I while Japan were one of the first teams in the world to qualify for the World Cup Finals due in Brazil in the summer of 2014.
Two last games in Group I will take place on 15 October with Spain hosting Georgia in Albacete and France taking on Finland in Paris. The standings in qualifying Group I are as follows: Spain 17 points (7 games, goal difference 12-3), France 14 (7; 12-6), Finland 9 (7; 5-6), Georgia 5 (7; 3-8), Belarus 4 (8; 7-16).
Winners of the nine qualifying groups enter the 2014 World Cup directly while eight of the nine runners-up qualify for the playoff round which consists of two return matches scheduled for 15 and 19 November 2013. Winners of the playoff round join the group winners in the final tournament of the 2014 World Cup due in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July 2014. The world’s major football competition will bring together 32 best teams from around the globe.