World

Japan draws against Netherlands

Arjen Robben (R) celebrates giving Netherlands a 2-0 lead against Japan.
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Holland surrendered a two-goal lead as Japan came from behind to draw their international friendly 2-2 at the Cristal Arena in Belgium.

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Rafael van der Vaart put Holland ahead in the 12th minute before a brilliant curling effort from Arjen Robben doubled the advantage five minutes before the break.

However, Yuya Osako pulled one back for Japan a minute before the break, with Keisuke Honda's 60th-minute score enough to level the match.

Japan started the game brightly but Holland soon settled, and it was the Oranje who claimed some momentum thanks to some crisp passing and strong running.

Van der Vaart then broke the deadlock when he took advantage of slack defending by Atsuto Uchida and beat goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa.

Robben then headed a chance over the bar as Holland truly gained the ascendancy before Uchida tracked back to block Jermain Lens at the last minute to deny Holland a second.

Japan were struggling to match their early pace and Robben fired the second for Holland in superb style when he evaded the Japanese defense to cut inside and curl the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.

However, Japan hit back five minutes later just before the half-time whistle Makoto Hasebe broke in midfield and laid the ball off to Osako, who curled home from 18 yards.

Honda added Japan's second on the hour mark when he combined well with Osako and Uchida before striking home what was a good team goal to level the match.

Shinji Kagawa then forced a save from Jasper Cillessen, who tipped his 20-yard strike around the post before he missed the right post 10 minutes later as neither side were able to conjure a decisive goal.

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