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Japanese officials are concerned about the playing surface at the Saitama World Cup stadium and may order it relaid in time for this year’s finals, local media said Wednesday.

“The condition of the grass is not satisfactory and we are worried if we can host the World Cup as it is,” the Japan Football Association was quoted as saying by the daily Asahi Shimbun after officials inspected the turf Tuesday.

A senior JFA official told local authorities in charge of the stadium — which will host a semifinal and matches involving England and Japan — to look into the possibility of relaying the grass, Kyodo news agency said Tuesday.

Doing their part

The Japan national soccer team will raise money for victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States with an intra-squad practice match in Shizuoka on Feb. 27, the Japan Football Association said Wednesday.

Japan coach Philippe Troussier reportedly came up with the idea to play three 45-minute games featuring 41 players hoping to make the squad for the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.

Fans will be charged 1,000 yen for the match.

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