Chile’s football team caught off guard by powerful earthquake in Japan

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Tokyo, Sep 6 (IANS) Chile’s football team was caught off guard early on Thursday by a powerful earthquake that struck Japan’s Hokkaido island, where they are expected to play a friendly match against the hosts.

Coach Reinaldo Rueda’s team, whose friendly against Japan was scheduled for Friday, tweeted that all its members were safe after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake shook the area at 3 am, reports Efe news agency.

The future of the match is uncertain as the Japan Football Association (JFA) is evaluating the damage the earthquake may have caused to the game’s venue, the Sapporo Dome stadium, a JFA spokesperson told Efe.

“We will determine whether the match will be held or not by 18:00 (JST) today,” JFA said in a statement, adding that the decision will take into account the condition of the electricity system and transport services to ensure the safety of spectators.

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JFA also expressed its condolences to the victims of the Hokkaido earthquake, which has killed at least two and injured 140, with around 40 missing, according to the latest official figures.

After Friday’s match in Japan, Chile is expected to play South Korea in another friendly on September 11.

–IANS

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