Japan-N. Korea Soccer Match Cancelled; Future Decision Left to FIFA

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan’s Ritsu Doan, left, plays during the match against North Korea in Tokyo on Thursday.

The Japan Football Association said Friday that the match between Japan and North Korea in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the World Cup, which was scheduled to be held on March 26, has been cancelled.

The JFA said it received a notice about it from the Asian Football Confederation on Friday and that FIFA will decide how to proceed with the match.

The match was originally scheduled to be held in Pyongyang, but on Wednesday, the North Korean side notified the AFC that it could not host the game in Pyongyang. The search for an alternate venue appears to have been difficult.

The Japanese national team was holding a training session in Chiba on Friday evening but ended for the night when the cancellation was announced.

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu issued a comment, saying: “It’s unfortunate that we’ve lost the opportunity to make improvements after Thursday’s game, and that we aren’t able to try out more players. But our activities will continue. We will aim for further improvements based on the experiences we’ve had so far.”