TOKYO - Japan outclassed Belgium 4-0 to lift the Kirin Cup on Sunday, giving their World Cup qualifying preparations the perfect boost. Yuto Nagatomo, Kengo Nakamura, Shinji Okazaki and substitute Kisho Yano were on target as Japan totally dominated the Belgians in Tokyo to win the three-team competition. The three-times Asian champions, who thrashed Chile by the same 4-0 scoreline in midweek, can clinch their place at the 2010 World Cup if they beat Uzbekistan in Tashkent on Saturday. "We met our minimum objectives and raised the bar a bit," Japan coach Takeshi Okada told reporters. "It's always nice to score goals but it's no guarantee we'll do the same against Uzbekistan. We still have a job to do." Left-back Nagatomo blasted Japan in front after 21 minutes before midfielder Nakamura doubled their lead with another sharp finish moments later. Striker Okazaki, who scored twice against Chile in Osaka, made it 3-0 with a brave diving header on the hour mark and Yano added a late fourth to underline Japan's superiority. Japan, who only risked playmaker Shunsuke Nakamura's sore groin for 45 minutes, play their final three World Cup qualifiers in June. "We really went for it in the first 20 minutes or so," said Celtic midfielder Nakamura. "We took our foot off a bit after we scored two goals -- that's something we need to fix." Okada's side are bidding to make their fourth successive World Cup finals appearance at next year's tournament in South Africa.
31 May 2009
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