INNSBRUCK: Japan ended their World Cup warm-up on a high, coming from behind to defeat Paraguay 4-2 in Austria on Tuesday in a game that burst into life in the dying minutes.
Akira Nishino’s team managed just three shots at the Tivoli-Neu Stadium in Innsbruck, yet finished with four goals, courtesy of a brace from Takashi Inui, an own goal by Paraguay’s Federico Santander and a stoppage-time effort from Shinji Kagawa.
Eibar’s Inui had set up the victory with two second-half goals, both assisted by Borussia Dortmund’s Kagawa, after Oscar Romero had given the South Americans a 32nd-minute lead.
Richard Ortiz pulled one back for Paraguay on 90 minutes before Kagawa crowned an influential performance with Japan’s fourth a minute later.
The result ensured a bright finish to Japan’s preparation for the World Cup in Russia, following 2-0 defeats to both Switzerland and Ghana.
They open their campaign in Group ‘H’ on June 19 against another South American side, Colombia, in Saransk before taking on Senegal and Poland.
Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018