June 21, 2018 / 5:23 PM / 5 months ago

Princess Takamado pays royal visit to Japan team

Soccer Football - World Cup - Japan Training - Japan Training Camp, Kazan, Russia - June 21, 2018 Japan's Princess Takamado poses for a picture with Japan's players and staff during training REUTERS/John Sibley

(Reuters) - Japan’s Princess Takamado met with the national team at their World Cup base in Kazan on Thursday ahead of their second Group H clash against Senegal.

The princess, who is the first member of Japan’s royal family to visit Russia since 1916, watched the Samurai Blue beat Colombia in their World Cup opener and will attend Sunday’s match against Senegal in Ekaterinburg.

Players and staff greeted the princess at training but were firmly focused on preparing for the Africans, who defeated Poland 2-1 in their first match.

“We won the first game so the atmosphere is really good but we have to keep our feet on the ground,” Japan captain Makoto Hasebe told reporters.

“But we have to take into account that we played against 10 men for almost 90 minutes so next game will be a different story, we have to think about that.”

Japan and Senegal are top of Group H on three points each, with Poland and Colombia to meet in search of their first points.

Reporting by Christophe Van Der Perre and Fedja Grulovic; Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Pritha Sarkar

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