TOKYO - Japan's Blue Samurai national
team, including all 12 players based in Europe, beat a J-League
All-Star team 2-1 in a charity match on Tuesday to raise funds
for victims of this month's deadly earthquake and tsunami.
"It was your support that gave us strength on the pitch. Now
it is our turn to support you together with the rest of the
world," Japan captain and Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe
said before the match.
The Japan Football Association had raised almost 15 million
yen ($183,500) over three days for the victims of the quake and
40,000 tickets for the match at Osaka's Nagai Stadium sold out
in less than an hour, Kyodo news agency said.
"I will play for Miyagi," said national team defender
Yasuyuki Konno, a native of Miyagi prefecture, one of the badly
hit areas on the northeast coast.
More than 27,000 people are dead or missing from the 9.0
magnitude quake and giant tsunami waves it triggered.
The J-League All-Star team featured a number of former
national team players including FC Yokohama forward Kazuyoshi
Miura, at 44 the oldest player in the domestic league.
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