Friday, 20th March 2009
Baseball: Japan beats Cuba to advance
Defending champions Japan have dumped Cuba out of the World Baseball Classic in San Diego with a 5-0 victory.
It marks the first time that Cuba has failed to reach the final of a major international tournament for 50 years, as the Japanese advance to take on South Korea in the Pool 1 final.
The loser will take on Venezuela, who topped Pool 2, while the winner will compete against the US for a place in the final.
Commenting on the historic defeat, Cuba manager Higinio Velez admitted that the Japanese players deserved to win, stating: "They were much better than us."
Meanwhile, Japan's ambassador to the US has told the Washington Times that tolerance is growing for players to enter Major League Baseball.
"People at first, at the beginning, were not happy that their very best were going," he said, adding that the success of players such as Hideo Nomo has been helping to change that attitude.
Written by Andy Mackay