[QODLink]
Football
Japan miss shot at double continental title
Champions of Asia pull out of Copa America to leave South American championships searching for replacement.
Last Modified: 17 May 2011 09:31
Coach Alberto Zaccheroni is hoisted in the air by his players in Doha in January [GALLO/GETTY]

Japan are out of the running to be the champions of two continents after the Asian Cup winners withdrew from the Copa America.

The Japanese pulled out of the South American championships for the second time in six weeks after failing to get the release of their European-based players, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) said on Monday.

The Samurai Blue, who were invited to the July 1-24 tournament in Argentina as guests, had been persuaded to reverse a decision to withdraw taken on April 4 following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country in March.

"I regret very much to communicate to you that the Japanese national team cannot take part in the Copa America," JFA president Junji Ogura told tournament organising committee chief Jose Luis Meiszner in a letter to the AFA.

"Although the European clubs understand our situation, unfortunately most of them have told us they cannot release their players," Ogura was quoted as saying on the AFA's website.
 
Ogura also explained it was difficult to assemble a squad of mainly home-based players since the domestic J-League calendar had been put back six weeks owing to the devastation of the earthquake and tsunami that left thousands dead, thousands more missing and sparked a nuclear scare.

The AFA said the South American Football Confederation would send an invitation to Costa Rica on Tuesday asking them if they would like to replace Japan.

Should they accept they would go into Group A with hosts Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia.

Japan won the Asian Cup in Qatar in January, beating Australia in the final. 

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
join our mailing list