Japan to host Peru, Czech Republic
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Japan will host Peru and the Czech Republic in June in their first international friendlies since the 11 March earthquake-tsunami disaster, the Japan Football Association announced today.

"The two matches will be very important for us as a great opportunity to prepare for [Asian] World Cup qualifiers starting in September," Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said in a statement released by the association.

"I hope all our national team players will take good advantage of this opportunity to understand each other better," the former AC Milan coach said.

The Blue Samurai, who won a record fourth AFC Asian Cup title in Qatar in January, will play Peru in Niigata on 1 June and the Czech Republic six days later in Yokohama.

The two matches will be very important for us as a great opportunity to prepare for [Asian] World Cup qualifiers.
Alberto Zaccheroni, Japan coach

The two visiting sides will play each other on 4 June in Nagano in an annual three-nation tournament called the Kirin Cup.

The disasters forced the cancellation of home friendlies against Montenegro and New Zealand in March and led the nation's J.League to suspend five rounds of matches.

The backlogged league fixtures will be played in July to clash with the Copa America, to which Japan are invited as guests.

Reversing an earlier decision to withdraw from the Copa America, Japan pledged to take part in the event by selecting a squad mainly made up of European-based players.