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Japan

Japan must choose wisely

Japan
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 By John Duerden

Why a Premier League relegation scrap is not the best move for Shinji Okazaki

Japan striker Shinji Okazaki has been the main man for Bundesliga club Mainz over the past two seasons.

How long can you be underrated when you are continually described that way? Perhaps Shinji Okazaki knows, even if that phase of the Japanese forward's career is behind him. The Mainz man, who is now one of Bundesliga's best, has been the club's go-to-guy for goals over the past two seasons. Fans in Germany as well as Asia know what Okazaki has to offer, but it looks like it is time for him to move on.

There is talk of Leicester City readying a bid of around $12 million for the striker. There is...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

FIFA president Sepp Blatter backs rule to keep 2026 World Cup out of Europe

E:60 examines the most powerful man in sports and his leadership of the organization overseeing world soccer.
E:60 examines the most powerful man in sports and his leadership of the organization overseeing world soccer.
E:60 examines the most powerful man in sports and his leadership of the organization overseeing world soccer.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants a rule on World Cup hosting that would prevent Europe from bidding for the 2026 tournament.

The FIFA executive committee could agree this month to block continental confederations from bidding for the next two World Cups after hosting.

"It should be this way," Blatter told reporters on Friday, adding that the proposal is "more than an option."

Because Russia will host in 2018, a UEFA country would next be eligible for the 2030 World Cup. Russia defeated...

'Japanese Messi' Takefusa Kubo signs for FC Tokyo from Barcelona

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno and Ross Dyer weigh on the Champions League final, and Alejandro contends that Barcelona might be to much for the Italian giants to handle.
Takefusa Kubo has been tipped for a bright future.

TOKYO -- Japanese club FC Tokyo have signed 13-year-old prospect Takefusa Kubo from Barcelona.

Kubo, who earned the nickname the 'Japanese Messi', signed with Barcelona in 2011 to train at La Masia academy but FIFA ruled that the Spanish club violated international transfer regulations over the signing of young players, forcing the teenager to return home.

After being handed a 14-month transfer ban, Barcelona are now unable to recruit any new players until the 2016 January window while Kubo, who...

WC Qualifiers: Change of venues for Singapore's Group E games vs. Japan

Singapore coach Bernd Stange will need to prepare his team for the daunting away trip to Japan on June 16 instead of Nov. 12.

Singapore's 2018 World Cup qualification game against Japan on June 16 has been moved from the city state to Saitama in Japan.

The return match in Group E between the two nations on Nov. 12 will now be hosted by Singapore.

The tweaking of the schedule means Bernd Stange's side face the daunting prospect of taking on four time Asian champions Japan on their home turf just five days after their first game, also an away match against Cambodia.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and world governing...