The Blue Samurai's opening match in the Kirin Cup Wednesday evening at Nagai Stadium in Osaka ended with a solid 4-0 trouncing of Chile.
Chile's Jean Beausejour, who plays his for Club América of the Primera División de México was a menace for Japan early. However at twentieth minute Shinji Okazaki (Shimizu S-Pulse) capitalized on a rebound of Keisuke Honda (VVV-Venlo) to send the ball in from ten metres. Only four minutes later Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F. Marinos) accepted a long ball and then provided Okazaki a perfect set-up to notch his second of the night from just inside the area, giving the Blue Samurai a 2-0 lead. Seven minutes after the break Japan extended its lead as Yasuhito Endo's (Gamba Osaka) corner from the right was headed-in to the near post by Yuki Abe (Urawa Red Diamonds). Now up by three Chile was the more controlling of the sides through much of the match but were unable to break onto the score-sheet and deep into added-time Kisho Yano (Albirex Niigata) and Naoki Yamada (Urawa Red Diamonds) linked up to provide Keisuke Honda for the fourth and final goal.
The match marked the debut of Urawa Red Diamonds eighteen year-old midfielder Naoki Yamada in his first international appearance. Pleased with the performance Blue Samurai coach Takeshi Okada said following the match:
“Our players played as we intended them to, so I’m very happy about that.”
Japan faces Belgium on Sunday at the National Stadium in Tokyo.