E Group, the Italian gourmet food retailer, said yesterday [Wednesday] it would open a coffee shop in the Japanese city of Sendai, Hajimu Fujii, to help the Italian football team prepare for the World Cup.

The Italian soccer squad will be based in Sendai, 300 kilometres north of Tokyo while its team prepares for the month-long tournament.

E group president Giancarlo Aneri said he hopes to expand the business from Sendai to the rest of Japan. E Group markets its coffee under the Tricaffe brand.