Innsbruck, Austria, saw Japan defeat Paraguay in an international friendly 4-2, in the lead up to the Russia 2018 World Cup. Japan was down initially but clawed its way back to a two-goal victory margin in spite of only taking three shots at goal, thanks to an own goal by Frederico Santander of Paraguay. Takashi Inui scored two goals, and the team’s tally was completed by Shinji Kagawa who scored the fourth goal in stoppage time. Japan have been one of the most successful Asian footballing nations of all time, qualifying for the World Cup on six consecutive occasions, including its present qualification for the Russian edition of the competition. Coach Akira Nishino, who had taken over since April and had to deal with the poor morale resulting from defeats to Ghana and Switzerland in two previous friendlies, said that his team had managed to stick to its strategy of first studying and then breaking down their opponent’s game, which they successfully did against Paraguay.
Captain Robert Lewandowski of Poland scored two goal in his team’s win over Lithuania, 4-0, in another international friendly played yesterday. The Bayern Munich striker went about his business in usual fashion, while teammates Dawid Kownacki and Jakub Blaszczykowski chipped in with a goal each as they romped home to victory in Warsaw, at the Stadion Narodowy. Giving home fans plenty to cheer about and keeping up a very good momentum heading into the World Cup, Poland are expected to give other Group H members Japan, Senegal and Columbia a serious run for their money, promising to play a superior brand of football.
Both Japan and Poland will begin their World Cup campaign on Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, playing against Columbia and Senegal, respectively.