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Soccer rallies to support Japanese victims

A charity game between the Japanese national team and an all-star of former Japanese stars drew a capacity crowd of more than 40,000 at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka -- tickets were sold out in an hour -- and donations of $261,000 were raised for the victims of the recent earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan.

Fans adorned blue colors of the national team with some fans wearing yellow, the color of J-League team Vegalta Sendai from Sendai, the hardest-hit major city. Fans chanted the Vegalta Sendai theme song, a rendition on Twisted Sister's “We’re Not Gonna Take It.”

The game -- won by the Japanese national team, 2-1 --  replaced a game scheduled against New Zealand, which was canceled because of logistical problems. Japan's national team stars based in Europe returned for the game.

“But to everyone here in the stadium and watching at home, I want to say let’s work together and move forward,”  CSKA Moscow star Keisuke Honda said.  “I don’t know if it’s right to play sports at a time like this, but doing something to help is the most important thing right now.”

Read the whole story at Wall Street Journal »

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