• Kyodo

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Japan’s women’s soccer team will play its third and final group-stage match of the postponed Tokyo Olympics at Miyagi Stadium, in the northeastern Japan region hit hard by the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, FIFA confirmed Tuesday.

The choice of venue will be an opportunity to showcase the Tohoku region’s recovery from the disasters, while also acknowledging the bond between the women’s team and the area.

Nadeshiko Japan won the 2011 Women’s World Cup in Germany just months after the triple disaster, with the historic victory helping to lift the spirits of people trying to rebuild their lives.

According to soccer’s international governing body, head coach Asako Takakura’s team will finish the group stage on July 27 at the 49,000-seat stadium in Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture, near the prefectural capital Sendai.

They will play their first two matches at Sapporo Dome on July 21 and 24.

The men’s team, principally comprised of players aged 24 and under, will contest their first group-stage game at Tokyo Stadium on July 22 and their second three days later at Saitama Stadium. They will finish the stage on July 28 at International Stadium Yokohama.

The men’s draw will involve 16 teams and the women’s 12. Eight teams will advance from each to the knockout rounds. Both the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments are scheduled to kick off before the Olympic opening ceremony on July 23.

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