Tuesday, April 05, 2011

2011 Copa America: Japan

Japan has pulled out of this year's Copa America tournament. The Japanese Football association president Junji Ogura said:

"The priority at this moment is to continue saving lives and rebuilding the country after the earthquake and tsunami"

The reasons are perfectly understandable but Japan's withdrawal is a loss for the South American tournament. Japan have improved considerably from the last time they played in Copa America (1999) when they managed only a single point from their 3 group games -- Japan lost the opener 3-2 to Peru, lost 4-0 to Paraguay before tying Bolivia 1-1 in their final game. Japanese football has been on an upward path since they co-hosted the 2002 World Cup. Japan had a fantastic 2010 World Cup where they showed considerable tactical and technical ability in overcoming Cameroon and Denmark to reach the round of 16 before they narrowly lost on penalties to Paraguay after a tight 0-0 game. Japan started 2011 in fine form by beating Australia to win the 2011 Asian Cup. The Copa America in Argentina would have given Japanese footballers another solid test to build on. But not to be.

It is not clear which team will replace Japan but Spain is the front-runner. I will then include the replacement team officially in my Copa America Book & Film Festival. I still plan to read the book and watch the film selected to represent Japan even though I will not be able to use the Japanese entries in the final competition results. So the two entries are:

Book: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Film: Tokyo Sonata directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa


Pacze Moj said...

Sad, but understandable. Brazil will probably be happy: at least they might get a competitive game against Spain before they host the World Cup.

I'm curious about Kafka on the Shore. I read my first Murakami last year (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World) and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Sachin said...

I read that Brazil have invited Japan to the 2015 Copa which they will be hosting. If that is true, then Japan will get another chance and that will be nice. If Spain take Japan's place, then seeing them in the same group as Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay will be fascinating.

I love Hard boiled wonderland. I remember buying that book without having read any reviews and I was so impressed that I have been reading other works of his. I know friends who cite his Wind-Up Bird Chroniclen as a fav but for me Hard Boiled is still the best. So even I am curious to see how Kafka on the shore stacks up.

Pacze Moj said...

I picked up Hard-Boiled Wonderland on the advice of a friend. I'd heard about Murakami (Kafka on the Shore, mostly) but didn't really know anything about him or even the style / genre of the books. It was a pleasant surprise!