Japan beats Cyprus 1-0 in World Cup tuneup
The Jakarta Post
Defender Atsuto Uchida scored late in the first half on Tuesday as Japan beat Cyprus 1-0 in the team's final match on home soil before departing for the World Cup.
Uchida put Japan ahead in the 43rd minute when he pounced on a rebound off a save by Cyprus goalkeeper Panos Constantinoy and calmly tapped in from close range.
"I think the team did OK," Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. "We just finished a physically hard training camp so there was some tiredness, but our decision making was good."
Uchida had just returned from a thigh injury sustained in January.
"I got injured and I wasn't sure if I would make it back in time," Uchida said. "But I got picked for the team and was looking to make a contribution today."
Veteran striker Yoshito Okubo, a surprise inclusion in Japan's World Cup squad, came on just before the hour mark and almost doubled the advantage with a right-footed shot from around 30 yards (meters) that sailed over the crossbar.
Cyprus, ranked 130th in FIFA's world rankings, never seriously threatened Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.
Japan, which is preparing for its fifth consecutive World Cup campaign, faces Ivory Coast, Greece and Colombia in Group C in Brazil.
Shinji Kagawa had another good scoring chance in the second half with a right-footed shot from the edge of the area that forced Constantinoy to make a diving save.
Zaccheroni's team will leave Japan on Thursday for a training camp in Florida that includes tuneup matches against Costa Rica and Zambia. (*****)
You might also like :
- Saudi Arabia's jailed trailblazers
- Here are 10 of the most populated cities in the world
- Three foreign tourists rescued after failed fishing trip in Aceh
- Indonesia poised to benefit as China's Belt and Road turns green
- Suspected terrorist shot dead in Pamanukan for resisting arrest
- Mexico caught up in victorious jumble of joy
- At midnight, Riyadh erupts in cheers for a woman in a car
- US Navy planning new camps to support immigration crackdown: Report
- Jakpost guide to bookworm havens
- 5 wall shelf design ideas for small spaces