South Korea to travel to Japan for friendly match

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(Reuters) - The Korea Football Association (KFA) said on Wednesday the men's national team would travel to Japan this month for a friendly match as part of their preparations for 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

The Koreans will become the first international sports team to visit Japan since the country tightened its border restrictions in late December.

The sides will meet at Yokohama International Stadium on March 25, four days after a state of emergency is expected to be lifted in Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures.

The state of emergency had been set to end on March 7 but was extended by two weeks due to the threat from new coronavirus variants and the possibility of cases rising again.

Tokyo is set to host the Olympic Games in July-August after the event was postponed by a year due to the pandemic.

Yonhap news agency quoted KFA Secretary General Chun Han-jin as saying they had reached an agreement with the government that the squad would be exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arriving back home.

The squad would instead undergo a one-week isolation in a biosecure bubble at the National Football Center.

The two countries last met in the East Asian Championships in Busan in December 2019, when the Koreans registered a 1-0 win.

Japan currently top their group in qualifying for the World Cup and are due to face Mongolia on March 30.

The Koreans, who are set to play their remaining World Cup qualifiers in June, are second in Group H, where they trail Turkmenistan by a point having played one game fewer.

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Peter Rutherford)