Football: Nadeshiko Japan start World Cup training in New Zealand

The Japanese women's football team kicked off their World Cup preparations in New Zealand on Monday with a training session at their base in Christchurch.

With the morning temperature at a brisk 10 C, members of manager Futoshi Ikeda's 23-woman squad warmed up and ran drills as they were cheered from the stands by supporters, including locally based Japanese.

Nadeshiko Japan will bid for their second FIFA Women's World Cup crown at the tournament starting Thursday in Australia and New Zealand.

The world No. 11 side will open their Group C campaign against 77th-ranked Zambia at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium on Saturday.

They face No. 36 Costa Rica in Dunedin on July 26, and wrap up the group stage against No. 6 Spain in Wellington on July 31.

© Kyodo News