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Can Japan break their duck?
June 29, 2005 – For the second time in two years World number 17 Japan are stearing down the barrel of another winless World League campaign.

After finishing in 10th spot last year (along with Portugal and China) Japan are facing two matches this weekend against Portugal, where they need to break a 22-game run of defeats. It would be a wonderful way to finish for Ueta Tatsuya and his team, especially in front of their own fans but it obviously won’t be an easy task with a new and improved Portuguese side, having blossomed under the leadership of coach Orlando Samuels, looking for two victories themselves to seal second spot in the group.

Currently ranked 18th in the world, Portugal have broken a bad run of their own by having guaranteed their best ever finish in the World League in six attempts. Prior to 2005, Portugal had finished last in all five campaigns so whatever the result this weekend, there is plenty to celebrate for Joao Jose and his men.

The first match between Japan and Portugal in Tokyo is set to go on Saturday at 06:00 GMT (15:00 local time) with the second game on Sunay at 05:00 GMT (14:00 local time).
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