• Kyodo

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Japan will play New Zealand in one of two October friendlies as the Blue Samurai build toward next year’s World Cup finals in Russia, the Japan Football Association said Wednesday.

Vahid Halilhodzic’s men will play New Zealand in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, on Oct. 6, before facing Haiti at Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium four days later in the Kirin Challenge Cup.

New Zealand won through the World Cup qualifiers from the Oceania region and in November will face the fifth-placed team from the North, Central America and Caribbean CONCACAF region, in a playoff for a berth at the finals.

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