Goal: Who Should Replace Japan in the Copa América?

Japan withdrew from this summer’s Copa América on Monday, saying the effects of last month’s earthquake and tsunami made it impossible for the team to participate.

“Our priority is to save lives and rebuild our nation,” Junji Ogura, the president of Japan’s soccer federation, stated. “We regret we can not participate at the Copa América.”

Japan and Mexico had been invited as guests to take portion in the tournament, which serves as the South American championship and runs July 1-24. Mexico will send its beneath-23 team, supplemented by many older players, due to the fact its initial team will be playing for its very own continental championship a month earlier in the Concacaf Gold Cup. But Japan stated its players essential what would have been their summer time break to full the J-League season and make up some other games.

Japan’s withdrawal, three months prior to the tournament opener in Argentina, will force the South American organizers to locate a final-minute replacement. There is no shortage of possibilities.


A Conmebol spokesman suggested to The Linked Press that Costa Rica and Canada could be capable to fill in.

Eduardo Li, president of the Costa Rican federation, stated he talked last week with Argentine federation president Julio Grondona about the chance of Japan withdrawing.

“What he told me was he would personally support Costa Rica provided the scenario,” Li said Monday in a radio interview.

The U.S. Soccer Federation president, Sunil Gulati, told The A.P. that the United States national team would be in no position to take Japan’s place. “It would be subsequent to impossible for us to participate given player availability issues,” Gulati stated.

All three of these teams — plus another possible replacement, Honduras — will take aspect in the Gold Cup for most of June, and while Costa Rica, Canada and Honduras almost certainly figure they will be out prior to the June 25 final, the Americans surely plan to be playing in it.

The team numerous would like to see take Japan’s spot in Argentina’s very first-round group is Spain, and that would create fairly a field. According to at least 1 report, these conversations began virtually as soon as Japan pulled out.

Nevertheless, as a lot as everyone would like to see Lionel Messi lined up against Xavi and Andrés Iniesta, or Neymar charging at Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol, that appears unlikely. Barcelona and Real Madrid would probably forbid their best players from going, offered their already short summer time breaks and Spain’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

But what Spain could supply is a second-string roster that most countries would envy. Villarreal’s Brazil-born midfielder Marcos Senna, for one particular, would almost certainly really like to go. So would young players like Juan Manuel Mata and Jesús Navas, who could have to wait years to pull on Spain’s red shirt in a massive tournament.

Corner kick: Who would you like to see replace Japan in the field? Is it worth Spain’s time to try to put collectively a team?

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