Wasabi taken by North Korean customs officers may have contributed to Japan defeat
Friday 18 November 2011
Over-zealous North Korean customs officers may have contributed to Japan's first defeat under Italian Alberto Zaccheroni earlier this week after confiscating his favourite tube of wasabi.
After a brush with customs in Pyongyang which lasted four hours and also resulted in players having bananas, chewing gum and instant noodles swiped, Japan were beaten 1-0 in Pyongyang.
"They took away his tube of wasabi at the airport and he didn't get it back," Japan Football Association (JFA) president Junji Ogura told Friday's Nikkan Sports newspaper.
Zaccheroni carries the spicy Japanese condiment with him on trips, squirting it on everything, even plain rice - a recipe which worked, the Blue Samurai unbeaten in his first 16 games in charge.
"He always asks for wasabi and prefers the cheap tube to the expensive stuff," added Ogura, noting Zaccheroni had eaten little but bread for three days in Pyongyang.
"I apologised to him for there being no wasabi after the game."
Japan's defeat was otherwise academic, the Asian champions having already qualified for the final round of regional 2014 qualifiers. North Korea had already been eliminated.
"I was looking to experiment with a few things in Pyongyang," said Zaccheroni, whose team were a shadow of the team which began the year in such style.
"It was a bizarre place but we took some positives from the game."
Japan face Uzbekistan at home on February 29 in their final match in the third round of Asian qualifiers when they will need to win to finish above the former Soviets in Group C.
Latest in Sport
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Diego Costa keeps coin thrown at him during Capital One Cup final
Lukas Podolski corner: Has the Arsenal forward taken the worst corner of all time?
Tim Sherwood: 'Escape the drop and I’ll make sure Aston Villa do not suffer this again'
Ireland 19 England 9 player ratings: Jonathan Sexton? Devin Toner? Alex Goode? Who was the star man in Dublin?
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina