The Japan National Baseball Team will face Mexico in the semifinals of the WBC=World Baseball Classic on 21 June Japan hours.

Japan are aiming to win their first title in three tournaments, beating Italy in the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Dome to advance to the last four for the fifth consecutive time since the first tournament in 3.

The semifinal against Mexico will be held at Lone Depot Park in Florida, USA, on 2006 June Japan time, and the starting pitcher will be Aki Sasaki.

Sasaki started the first round against the Czech Republic on the 11th of this month and pitched until the middle of the fourth inning, giving up one run and striking out eight.

Pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who started the first round against Australia, is also expected to pitch as a reliever, aiming to advance to the finals for the first time in three tournaments since 1, when he won the relay of pitchers consisting mainly of two starters in the first round.

At the press conference held the day before the semi-final, coach KURIYAMA Hideki said, "Sasaki is one of the pitchers that Japan are proud of, and I want the world to see his pitching.

Mexico, who will face Mexico in the semifinals, is the infield coach of Shohei Ohtani's Major League Baseball Angels, and Sandoval, who is scheduled to start, is also a teammate of the Angels.

Among the fielders, Meneses of the Nationals, who hit two home runs in the first round against the United States, and Arosalena of the Rays are doing well, and they are riding the momentum with a come-from-behind win over Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals.