COMMENT:

Eight is a lucky number in Japan. Its widening girth at the base symbolises prosperity and growth.

Superstition matters to Japan's ageing population, as does tradition and custom, which is why there is a nervousness about hosting a World Cup which will bring tattoo-covered, beer-drinking fans who may be oblivious to the tranquil and spiritual essence of the host nation.

But a deep appreciation of the number eight may be where there is common ground between hosts and visitors. A mutual love of eight might be what glues this World Cup together as it is the magic number for

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