Liverpool will be playing both their FIFA Club World Championship games at the International Stadium of Yokohama, starting on Thursday when they play in the semi-final against Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica.
The stadium is nowadays known as the Nissan Stadium, after the Nissan Motor Company became sponsors of the ground earlier this season. For the duration of the tournament though this name is not being used – FIFA required it revert to its old name for the duration of the cup – probably to keep tournament sponsors Toyota happy.
The stadium has a capacity of over 73,000 and is home to J League side Yokohama F Marinos. It’s probably best known to Reds fans in the West as a venue for games during the World Cup in 2002. Didi Hamann played there, when Germany lost in the final to Brazil. Irish Reds will remember the ground too, the scene of the Republic’s 3-0 win in the group stages over Saudi Arabia.
Liverpool fans are expected to be there in impressive numbers considering the huge expense and horrendous travelling time involved. Liverpool have probably got the largest following over there of any of the teams involved, so the atmosphere is expected to be something to remember. From the point of view of all Reds, there’s a hope that the stadium will go down in Anfield folklore with other overseas stadiums like the Olympic Stadium in Rome and the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.