Women players upgraded
Members of Japan’s women’s team returned home at the weekend and got upgraded to business class after winning a silver medal at the London Games. Japan’s world champion women’s team took exception to flying in economy class while their male counterparts sat in business class en route to the Games. The Japan Football Association said on Monday that the women’s team sat in business class on the way home because they won a medal. Japan lost to the US 2-1 in the final on Thursday in a rematch of last year’s World Cup final. The association said the men’s under-23 team, who failed to win a medal, flew in business class to London because they are professionals.
‘Kagawa fever’ hits Sapporo
Japan international Shinji Kagawa believes his pre-season move to Manchester United will make him a better player as he was mobbed on his arrival back home for today’s friendly against Venezuela. “Kagawa fever” hit the northern city of Sapporo as the 23-year-old swept through the airport lobby, fans and television cameras jostling to get near the playmaker. Asian champions Japan face Venezuela as part of their preparations for the Sept. 11 World Cup qualifier against Iraq, with tickets for the game at the Sapporo Dome already sold out. Kagawa’s every move has been documented by the Japanese media since his 17 million euro (US$21 million) transfer from Borussia Dortmund to United in June. “The level is very high [at United],” Kagawa, who has impressed during the side’s pre-season games, told the Nikkan Sports yesterday. “You’re playing everyday in an environment which spurs you on. I’m enjoying life off the pitch, too. Physically, I have no problems and I’m looking forward to putting in a good performance for Japan.”
John Terry’s ban modified
Chelsea captain John Terry is free to play in their opening Champions League match this season after his three-match European ban was modified on appeal by UEFA on Monday. “Chelsea FC’s John Terry has had his three-match suspension reduced on appeal,” UEFA said in a statement on its Web site. “Although the central defender is still suspended for three UEFA club competition matches, the third game of the ban has now been deferred for a probationary period of three years.” UEFA said the final match of the ban would only take effect if he reoffended. Terry served the first match in last season’s Champions League final in May against Bayern Munich which his team won on penalties and he will also sit out the European Super Cup match against Europa League winners Atletico Madrid on Aug. 31. Terry was suspended after he was sent off away to Barcelona for kneeing Alexis Sanchez in an off-the-ball incident during the first half of the semi-final second leg.
Miyaichi loaned to the Latics
Japan international Ryo Miyaichi has signed for Premier League club Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan, Arsenal said on Monday. The 19-year-old joined Arsenal after impressing manager Arsene Wenger while on a trial in 2010. Miyaichi has made only two appearances for the London club, both of which were in the League Cup last season, before he spent four months on loan with Bolton Wanderers. The winger has won one international cap, making his debut in a friendly against Azerbaijan in May.