Japan beats Honduras in final Under-20 World Cup warm-up

15 May


Japan won its last preparatory game ahead of the Under-20 World Cup on Monday, coming from behind to beat Honduras 3-2 in a friendly at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa.

Koki Ogawa headed in the opener from a Daisuke Sakai corner in the 15th minute but slack defending saw Honduras level on a counter only three minutes later through Jorge Alvarez. Japan’s defense was then cut open by a through ball in the 32nd minute when Darixon Vuelto’s calm finish handed the visitors the lead.

But Sakai converted from the spot minutes after the restart, and Ko Itakura headed in again from a corner in the 62nd minute for the winner as Japan put in an improved performance in the second half.

Takefusa Kubo came on just before the winner and the 15-year-old wonderkid added some flair to the Japanese attack, playing several balls behind the Honduran defense that did not lead to goals.

Atushi Uchiyama’s team will play South Africa in its Group D opener in South Korea on Sunday. Japan will then face Uruguay on May 24 and Italy on May 27.

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