Japan will play their first World Cup qualifier at home on June 16 after switching home dates with Singapore, the Football Association of Singapore announced in a Friday release.
The request from both the FAS and the Japan Football Association for a swap came after last week’s draw, which grouped the two countries with Cambodia, Syria, and Afghanistan.
While teams drawn from Pot 1 were schedule to play away at teams from Pot 4 on the second match day of joint qualifying, a clash with the closing ceremonies of the Singapore-hosted Southeast Asian games prompted calls for rescheduling.
The change will mean that Singapore can host their home leg with the Asian titans at the country’s new National Stadium, which seats over 50,000, rather than at the significantly smaller Jalan Besar.
“We look forward to hosting Japan on 12 November,” FAS president Zainudin Nordin said in a statement. “It will be a major treat for all Singapore and Japan fans, and we are confident it will draw a strong crowd.”
The switch is also convenient for Japan, who will now host two home games in a row after announcing a June 11 friendly with Iraq at International Stadium Yokohama.
The match between the Samurai Blue and Singapore’s Lions is expected to be played at Saitama Stadium, Japan’s preferred venue for competitive fixtures.