The Samurai Blue will be full of confidence now a few days away from the World Cup as they defeated fellow hopeful Costa Rica in a warm-up match in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, 3-1. Three second-half goals by Yasuhito Endo, Shinji Kagawa and Yoichiro Kakitani were enough to see off the Central American country, despite going down a goal in a pretty unimpressive first half for the Japanese booters.
Costa Rica opened the scoring in the 31st minute when Bryan Ruiz scored from a perfect cross from teammate Junior Diaz. The Japanese offense was only able to get past Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas in the 60th minute, courtesy of an Endo goal, that was assisted by Keisuke Honda, who served as the captain for that match. Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa managed to break the deadlock close to the end of the match in the 80th minute, with Kakitani sealing the victory with another goal in injury time. Both teams now have one more warm-up match each before heading off to Brazil, with Japan set to face Zambia and Costa Rica going up against Ireland in Philadelphia on Friday.
Japan’s first World Cup game will be on June 14 and will be going up against a formidable Ivory Coast team. They are in Group C where they will also try to get past Colombia and Greece to make it to the knock-out stages, where they painfully lost to Paraguay on penalties in the last edition of the World Cup. This time around, the European-based players on the team, like Honda and Yuto Nagatomo have expressed that they are looking towards actually winning the world’s biggest football competition, despite all eyes being on countries like Spain, Germany and host Brazil.
[ via The Republic ]
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