Japan line up France friendly

Japan will play France away in a friendly on October 12, their first meeting since 2003, the Japan Football Association (JFA) said on Friday.

The JFA and Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni are keen to test the Blue Samurai against world-class opposition as they push for a place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Asian champions Japan have lost all five games played against former World Cup and European Championships winners France, once on penalties.

Japan are bidding to qualify for their fifth successive World Cup finals, after making their first appearance in France in 1998, won by the host country.

The JFA are trying to line up another friendly on October 16 with reigning world and European champions Spain topping a wish-list, along with Italy and England, according to local media.

Japan take on Iceland in a friendly in Osaka on February 24 before a World Cup qualifier against Uzbekistan in Toyota five days later.

Both Japan and Uzbekistan have already qualified for the final round of Asian qualifiers.