Soccer practice draws big crowd

OSAKA (Kyodo) More than 8,000 spectators showed up for an afternoon training session on Saturday for Japan’s charity match against a J. League select side next week.

Fans flocked for a glimpse of Alberto Zaccheroni’s Asian champions as a queue stretched from Kincho Stadium — Cerezo Osaka’s home ground — to nearby Nagai Station.

Admission was free, and collections were taken to aid the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that hit eastern Japan. More than 27,000 were either dead or missing through Friday.

A full-strength Japanese team trained for the first time since lifting a record fourth Asian Cup on Jan. 29 in Doha with victory over Australia in the final.

The game against Dragan Stojkovic’s side is on Tuesday at Nagai Stadium.