The Japanese national team has lost 2-1 to Ukraine in their most recent friendly game, played on March 27. The Asian side knows they have a long way to go if they want to impress in Russia this summer but this was made more obvious by the Ukrainians, who dominated and had a fairly straight-forward victory.
Despite missing out in the qualification race for the World Cup 2018, Ukraine were good in their showdown against the Japanese. The Japanese played African side Mali on Friday and they got a last gasp draw to ensure it ended in a stalemate. They warmed up for the Mali and Ukraine game using the Standard Liege’s Stadium.
Japan chose Mali for the friendly as they will be facing off against Senegal at the World Cup. They will also clash with Colombia and Poland in other Group H fixtures, so playing a decent side in Ukraine would come handy in preparations. Tickets for their World Cup Group Stage matches have already sold out, though there are some tickets available on this site for die-hard Japanese fans such as myself! (It’s not often that you head to a World Cup Finals…!)
Ukraine opened scoring in the 21st minute as Yaroslav Rakitskiy’s long range attempt was deflected in by defender Naomichi Ueda. Before the end of the first half, Japan offered a response to that goal as Tomoaki Makino offered the equalizer through a glancing header in the 41st minute.
The second half resumed and either side could not add more goals. Oleksandr Karavaev found his way into the box to fire home the match winner in the 69th minute. Yevhen Konoplyanka did the work while Karavaev got the match winner.
In other friendly games Mongolia lost to Mauritius 2-0 while Laos and Bangladesh played a 2-2 draw. There are other planned games including blockbusters like Germany vs. Brazil, England vs. Italy and Spain vs. Argentina.