<
>
2018 International Friendly, International Friendly
  • Takashi Inui (51', 63', 51', 63')
  • Federico Santander (77' OG, 77' OG)
  • Shinji Kagawa (90'+1', 90'+1')
  • ├ôscar Romero (32', 32')
  • Richard Ortiz (90', 90')

Japan collect first win of 2018 in final World Cup friendly vs. Paraguay

AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHECHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images

Japan claimed their first victory of the year on Tuesday, coming from behind to beat Paraguay 4-2 and boost sagging morale a week before their opening World Cup Group H match against Colombia.

It was The Blue Samurai's first win under coach Akira Nishino, who had lost friendlies against Ghana and Switzerland since taking over in April.

Japan, one of the most successful Asian teams, having qualified for the World Cup for a sixth consecutive time, scored four times despite managing only three shots against Paraguay, who failed to reach the World Cup finals.

Takashi Inui set up the victory at the Tivoli-Neu stadium in the Austrian city of Innsbruck with two second-half goals, both assisted by Shinji Kagawa. Paraguay's Federico Santander scored an own goal and Kagawa put the result beyond doubt with a stoppage-time effort.

"We held our shape in defence and contained them, and that was a concern for us, but you need balance as well," Nishino said after his team ended a five-match winless streak, stretching back to December. "You need to break down your opponents and we finally did that in the second half.

"Inui has a talent for dribbling in the box and I want more of that from him. We saw that with his second-half goals."