Image: Soccer Football – World Cup – Japan Training – Mordovia Arena, Saransk, Russia – June 18, 2018 Japan’s Shinji Okazaki with team mates during training REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
By Angus MacSwan
SARANSK, Russia (Reuters) – Japan’s soccer team, on the eve of their opening World Cup match in Russia, sent their condolences to those affected by Monday’s earthquake in Osaka, and coach Akira Nishino said some players were worried about family in the area.
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook Osaka, Japan’s second-biggest metropolis, early on Monday, killing three people.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said authorities were assessing damage and their top priority was the safety of residents. About 150 people were injured, broadcaster NHK said.
“I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the people who have been affected and hope that the damage will be limited and the recovery is as quick as possible,” Japan captain Makoto Hasebe told a news conference in Saransk.
“There are players whose families live around the affected area so they are worried. Emotionally, they may have been negatively impacted, but as a team we extend our support, and anything I can do as captain.”
Coach Nishino said he was concerned about the psychological impact on the players ahead of the match against Colombia.
“But we are consulting with them and hope they will settle down.”
Japan arrived in Saransk on Sunday and take on Colombia on Tuesday in their opening Group H match.
(Reporting by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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