Japan ended their poor run of form with a win over Paraguay in their final World Cup warm-up match, Takashi Inui scoring twice in a 4-2 comeback victory on Tuesday.
Coach Akira Nishino fielded a side that looked stronger than the line-up that lost 2-0 to Switzerland four days earlier, naming Shinji Okazaki as a lone striker with Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa behind him in the centre of midfield.
Paraguay coach Gustavo Morinigo started with 40-year-old goalkeeper Justo Villar between the posts, and the veteran stopper was substituted after just 12 minutes so that his team-mates could pause to mark his retirement from international football.
Oscar Romero skilfully opened the scoring for Paraguay in the 32nd minute, latching onto Antonio Bareiro’s header before flicking the ball up and volleying into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the box while Japan’s defenders stood and watched.
Inui equalised six minutes into the second half, collecting the ball from Kagawa 30 yards from goal and driving forwards before thumping a shot to substitute keeper Alfredo Aguilar’s left and into the corner of the net.
The Real Betis midfielder added a second courtesy of a Kagawa flick on the edge of the box, side-footing the ball home with precision, and the game was put beyond Paraguay when Federico Santander volleyed the ball high into his own net at a corner with an outstretched knee.
Midfielder Richard Ortiz restored some pride for Paraguay with a late strike, but Kagawa rendered it meaningless by jinking his way into the box and stroking home Japan’s fourth in stoppage time.
Final del partido
— Selección Paraguaya (@Albirroja) June 12, 2018
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