Japan followed up its impressive draw with the Netherlands last week with a surprising win against another European powerhouse, Belgium, in an international football friendly match early Wednesday morning. The Samurai Blue beat the Red Devils 3-2 at the Stade Roi Baudouin in Brussels, courtesy of goals by Yoichiro Kakitani, Keisuke Honda and Shinji Okazaki.
Just like in their previous match, Japan had to fight back from a goal down, after Kevin Mirallas scored first for Belgium in the 15th minute. Honda, impressive once again for the second match in a row, almost equalized after 10 minutes but failed to connect with the ball after the Belgian keeper could not clear the ball properly. But at the 37th minute mark, Kakitani headed a goal home to equalize and score his first international goal since July this year. The Samurai Blue continued their excellent work in the second half and eight minutes after the break, Honda scored their second goal, also his second in as many matches. Substitute Okazaki gave Japan a two-goal cushion later in the match, although Belgium managed a consolation second goal from Toby Alderweireld 11 minutes before full-time.
After receiving much criticism for a string of poor results, the Japanese national team is on the road to redemption, after managing a good 2-2 draw on Saturday with the Netherlands, ranked 8th in the world. The win against Belgium, who is 5th in the FIFA rankings, bodes well for coach Alberto Zaccheroni and his men as they continue with their preparations for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
[ via Four Four Two ]