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SEMIS, HARD TEST FOR THEM

INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

AFC Champion and CONCACAF Champion each won the first game to advance to semifinal in the FIFA Club World Championship TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005. Both teams defended the opponent's hard attacks and grabbed one chance to win. Next games are challenges for them. Al Ittihad faces Sao Paulo FC at Tokyo while Deportivo Saprissa meets Liverpool FC at Yokohama.

I watched AFC Champions League Final and CAF Champions League Final last month. The imprresion I'd had at that time was kind of that almost all players had stopped the opponents by extreme fouls, which had seemed to be called the red-card in Japan. Actually, I was surprised that both teams played each other with fair-play spirits and that was fan game to watch.

CONCACAF and OFC Champions were my first time to see but the Australian team was known by Japanease Kazu Miura's belonging to host country's people. He entered the game as a starter to make chances to score at the 1st half, but his team suffered from opponent's firm defence after allowing a winning goal at the beginning of the 2nd half. Coach Pierre Littbarski should have exchanged Kazu for another striker to tie the game. He had seemed to stick to a 38-year-old striker too much to wast many attacks and much time.

Anyway, I expect to be exciting semifinal games.

match results:

FIFA Club World Championship
TOYOTA Cup Japan 2005

Quarterfinal at Tokyo (11 Dec)
Al Ittihad 1-0 Al Ahly

Quarterfinal at Toyota (12 Dec)
Sydney FC 0-1 Deportivo Saprissa

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