Four children from the tsunami-hit Japanese prefecture of Iwate today enjoyed a kick-about with FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter as they began a dream visit to Rio de Janeiro.

The delighted youngsters have been flown by Sony to this spectacular Brazilian city, where they are due to compete in the electronics giant’s upcoming CSR Beach Soccer competition. It took them fully 30 hours to make the mammoth journey from Iwate, via stops in Tokyo and Atlanta, USA, but it immediately proved to be time well spent for these young football enthusiasts as they met the FIFA President in his Rio office.

As well as indulging in a spot of keepy-up, the children – who are in Rio until 2 August - were also able to deliver Blatter’s personal invitation to Sony’s beach soccer event. Iwate, like much of Japan’s eastern coast, is currently rebuilding after the damage wreaked by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March.