Japan warm up for Copa America with dull draw
Trinidad and Tobago held tired-looking hosts Japan to a 0-0 draw during an uninspiring football friendly at Toyota Stadium in Aichi yesterday.
Japan have played 15 games since the World Cup, having reached the finals of the Asian Games and Asian Cup, and Hajime Moriyasu's men looked fatigued, failing to break down Trinidad and Tobago, who are ranked 67 places below them.
Shoya Nakajima looked the most likely to break the deadlock for the hosts, raining seven shots down on the Trinidad and Tobago goal, including hitting the crossbar with a free-kick shortly before half-time.
With a capacity crowd cheering them on, Japan finally found their feet in the closing stages as substitute Takumi Minamino and defender Shoji Gen both went close, but the Caribbean side held on.
If not for Japan goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt, who made a few smart saves, the Samurai Blue could have suffered an upset.
Nakajima, captain Gaku Shibasaki and defender Takehiro Tomiyasu were the only players who featured yesterday that are in Japan's squad for the Copa America.
Having been invited to the South American championship which kicks off next week, Japan have opted for a young squad that contains only six players with caps - an indication the Samurai Blue have one eye on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In Brazil, Japan have been drawn in Group C alongside Uruguay, Ecuador and Chile. - REUTERS