Japan woes pile on with Switzerland loss

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Japan’s preparation for the 2018 FIFA World Cup encountered another bump on Friday as they were beaten 2-0 by Switzerland in a friendly.

Switzerland, who will also be appearing at Russia 2018, opened the scoring at the Cornaredo Stadium in the 42nd minute when Ricardo Rodriguez lashed a penalty past Eiji Kawashima, after Breel Embolo had been tripped by Maya Yoshida inside the area.

Despite enjoying their fair share of possession, the Samurai Blue never really threatened Roman Burki in goal despite starting with the likes of Keisuke Honda, Yuya Osako and Genki Haraguchi, and introducing Shinji Kagawa, Yoshinori Muto and Gaku Shibasaki as the game wore on.

And, with eight minutes remaining, the Swiss made sure of the victory following a sweeping counterattack; Xherdan Shaqiri hanging up a ball at the back post which was Francois Moubandje nodded back into the six-yard box for Haris Seferovic to sweep home.

Japan are now winless in their last five outings dating back to last December, and have tasted victory in just two of their past ten games.

And coach Akira Nishino, who only took over from Vahid Halilhodzic in April, will have one final match against Paraguay on Tuesday to prepare his troops before they open their Group H campaign against Colombia on June 19.

SWITZERLAND: Roman Burki, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Fabian Schar, Manuel Akanji (Nico Elvedi 46’), Ricardo Rodriguez (Francois Moubandje 73’), Valon Behrami, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri (Josip Drmic 83’), Remo Freuler (Blerim Dzemaili 64’), Breel Embolo (Steven Zuber 64’), Mario Gavranovic (Haris Seferovic 64’).

JAPAN: Eiji Kawashima, Gotoku Sakai (Hiroki Sakai 56’), Maya Yoshida, Tomoaki Makino, Yuto Nagatomo, Makoto Hasebe, Ryota Oshima (Gaku Shibasaki 70’), Genki Haraguchi, Keisuke Honda (Shinji Kagawa 77’), Takashi Usami (Takashi Inui 56’), Yuya Osako (Yoshinori Muto 40’).