Soccer

Japan beats Latvia 3-0 in friendly

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KOBE, Japan (AP)

Forward Shinji Okazaki scored twice as Japan beat Latvia 3-0 in a friendly on Wednesday.

Okazaki opened the scoring in the 41st minute when he took a pass from Atsuto Uchida and fired a right-footed shot in off the left post.

Japan doubled the lead on the hour. Midfielder Shinji Kagawa fed Keisuke Honda, whose close-range shot beat Latvia goalkeeper Andris Vanins.

Okazaki widened the lead with his 31st national team goal just a minute later, taking a through pass from substitute Ryoichi Maeda and beating Vanins to put the result beyond doubt.

''We played much better in the second half,'' Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni said. ''We hadn't played for almost two months so it took us some time to adjust but we were much better after the break and if we continue to play like that we'll be in good shape.''

Japan was warming up for next month's World Cup qualifier in Amman where Zaccheroni's team can clinch a fifth straight World Cup appearance with a win over Jordan in Asia Group B. A draw will be enough to advance to Brazil if Australia draw with Oman.



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