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Japan to send strong U19s to friendly in Vietnam

Japan's U19 national football team, who are strong contenders for next year's AFC Championship, will compete at the Nutrifood Cup under-19 international friendly football tournament in Ho Chi Minh City next month.

Many of the Japanese U19s were on the squad that finished at the top of Group I with a clean slate at the 2014 Asian Football Confederation Championship qualifiers in Malaysia earlier this year.

Also playing at the Nutrifood Cup will be the U19 team of Italia's Series A club AS Roma and the U19s of the English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur. They will replace the young teams from Spain's La Liga club Barcelona and Holland's top-flight club Ajax Amsterdam FC, who initially accepted invitations to the Vietnamese event, but recently dropped out.

AS Roma takes eating very seriously and has sent the Vietnamese organizers a special menu for each meal during the cup at Ho Chi Minh City's Thong Nhat Stadium from January 6 to 10.

The Spurs will not send their best U19s because some of them are busy at the U18 Premier League contest. However, the U19s to be sent to Vietnam include stars like Filip Lesniak of Slovakia's U18 national team, Milos Veljkovic of Switzerland's U18 national team and Aaron Mc Eneff of Ireland's U18 national team.