Football: Cool comfort for Japan at Brazil World Cup

TOKYO - Japan have chosen the comfort of a cooler resort to try to escape the rigours of Brazil's hot and humid weather in deciding their base camp for the World Cup.

The Japan Football Association said the Asian champions will be based in Itu outside Sao Paulo when they travel the expanse of Brazil in June to play Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia in World Cup Group C.

They have picked a projected three-story building at the upscale, but as-yet unfinished, Spa Sports Resort for their home during the group stage of the competition, the JFA said on Thursday.

The sprawling hotel and resort complex is complete with two pitches with natural grass, a gym and a swimming pool.

Japan's group matches will be held in Recife, Natal and Cuiaba - three of the hottest venues at the World Cup.

Located some 100 kilometres (65 miles) northwest of Sao Paolo, Itu is a three-hour flight from the three locations but is cooler by 5 to 6 degrees Celsius.

"The hard part was in deciding whether to base ourselves in a warm part of the country so we can acclimatise, or hold camp in a nice area where we can put in good training on a daily basis and fly for three hours once every five days," Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said, according to Kyodo news agency.

"I picked the latter."

"It's a great environment to train in. Very spacious, and it's out in the suburbs where it's peaceful. The food is good and there's lots of green there."

The Italian manager has earlier expressed worries about the heat and humidity in Brazil - which Japan experienced firsthand at this summer's Confederations Cup where they lost all three group matches against Brazil, Italy and Mexico.

He has also warned about stress from travelling in Brazil which he said is "like moving inside a continent."

"I heard there were several other teams eyeing the place but the (Japan Football Association) did a good job of securing it. Russia, Greece and Germany were apparently looking in the same area," Zaccheroni said, according to Kyodo.

"It's only 30 minutes to the airport, which I think will be of huge importance once the tournament starts."

Geraldo Alckmin, the governor of Sao Paolo state, said on his Twitter account on Thursday that almost a third of the 32 teams had announced they will be staying in the state, including Argentina.

Zaccheroni, who coached Serie-A sides including AC Milan and Juventus, took over the Blue Samurai after they reached the last 16 at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He also led Japan to a record fourth Asian Cup title in 2011.

Zaccheroni's side expect to arrive in Itu on June 7, a week before their first game against Ivory Coast.