Tokyo (AFP) – World Cup-bound Japan warmed up for their friendly against Brazil next week with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Paraguay in Sapporo on Thursday.
The four-time Asian champions will take on Brazil at Tokyo’s Olympic stadium on Monday with the aim of beating the South Americans for the first time in a full international.
Hajime Moriyasu’s side are keen to test their mettle ahead of this winter’s World Cup, having been drawn in a tough group in Qatar with European heavyweights Germany and Spain.
Moriyasu gave several fringe players a run-out against Paraguay, who won’t be in Qatar, after largely sticking to a tried-and-trusted line-up during World Cup qualifying.
Bochum striker Takuma Asano gave Japan the lead when he chipped goalkeeper Santiago Rojas in the 36th minute after a perfectly weighted through-ball from Genki Haraguchi.
Daichi Kamada, who won the Europa League with Eintracht Frankfurt last month, doubled their lead in the 42nd minute with a header from Ritsu Doan’s cross.
Paraguay pulled one back 14 minutes into the second half when Derlis Gonzalez let fly with a shot that beat Japan goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt.
Japan struck back immediately when Kaoru Mitoma, whose two goals against Australia in March clinched their place in Qatar, lifted the ball over Rojas from close range.
Rojas saved a penalty from Doan in the 70th minute but substitute Ao Tanaka bagged Japan’s fourth 15 minutes later.
Japan will also play two games at home this month in a four-team friendly tournament also featuring Ghana, Chile and Tunisia.
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