Japan to play Iran in international friendly

Asian giants Japan and Iran will face off in an international friendly for the first time in more than a decade when the two former Asian Champions play in Tehran on October 13.

The previous time the two nations met on the football field was during qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, when Japan won 2-1 in Yokohama, after Iran won by the same score in Tehran five months earlier.

According to Japan coach Vahid Halihodzic, the friendly is the perfect opportunity for Samurai Blue to test themselves against strong opposition, before the bulk of their 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers start.

"We have not analysed Iran that much yet but I remember they gave a great performance at last year's World Cup," Halihodzic told the JFA'S (Japan Football Association's) official website.

"We would like to strengthen our team capitalising on an opportunity like this.

"I heard that many fans come to the stadium when Iran plays in Iran so I think it will be a good test to play in front of a huge crowd away for our qualifying games that will be coming up soon."