Holland and Japan training switched

DURBAN - Netherlands and Japan had their traditional eve of match training sessions moved from the Moses Mabhida World Cup stadium on Friday because of concerns about the playing surface after heavy rain.

The teams, who meet in their second Group E game on Saturday, had to train at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Kwamashu Township rather than the new 62,000-seat arena in the centre of Durban.

"We had a heavy rainstorm last night and we're just taking care of the pitch," Durban venue manager Bongi Hlope told Reuters.

"We have three excellent training pitches around the city and so we're using them to preserve the surface at the stadium.

"This will probably be the case for the remaining first round games and then we'll probably revert to the original plan from the round of 16."

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk said the switch would not affect his team's preparations and it had been good for the players to see how people lived in South Africa's townships.

"It's just the way it is, we have to deal with it," he told a news conference. "It's the same for our opponents. Today we played on an excellent pitch."

The Moses Mabhida stadium will also host the Nigeria-South Korea and Brazil-Portugal group games, one second round match and a semi-final.

The arena has already hosted two matches, Germany's 4-0 demolition of Australia and Switzerland's 1-0 upset of pre-tournament favourites Spain.

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