World Cup Friendly: Japan 3 England 0


Japan scored all three goals, unfortunately for them, two happened to be own goals, gifting England an ill deserved victory. This England team is unrecognizable from the self assured version that coasted to World Cup qualification.

Marcus Tulio Tanaka made Glen Johnson look like a rank amateur putting Japan ahead in the first half as early as the 6th minute.

Johnson was terrible and so was Rio Ferdinand who was muscled of the ball by Shinji Okazaki and then complained to the referee. England did very little of note as Japan controlled the ball better and created a number of chances.

Capello made a number of half time changes taking out David James, Glem Johnson, Theo Walcott, Tom Huddlestone, and Darren Bent. He brought on Joe Hart, Jamie Carragher, Shawn Wright Phillips, Steven Gerrard, and Joe Cole.

Japan almost went up another goal as Keisuke Honda lashed a shot which Hart was just able to tip over. An interesting little spat took place on the sideline as Capello and the normally impassive Japanese manager Takeshi Okada exchanged words.

England improved perceptibly with Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, and Wayne Rooney pushing the England attack. In the 54th minute, Lampard was brought down just beyond the box and in a bizarre event that presaged Japan's self destruction, Honda handballed Lampard's free kick resulting in a spot kick. Japan however escaped as Lampard's weak effort was read correctly by Eiji Kawashima.

Kawashima was called into action again bringing of a spectacular save to deny Rooney. Japan finally pushed the self destruct button in the 72nd minute as Tanaka hurled himself into the path of Joe Cole's cross with the ball sizzling past Kawashima for the first own goal. In the 83rd minute, Ashley Cole gliding down the left cut in and cut out lashing a cross that was deflected into goal by Yuji Nakazawa.

It was eerily reminiscent of an own goal scored by Thomas Vermaelen from one of Ashley Cole's crosses in Arsenal's defeat at the Emirates last season. A great reminder that Cole's crosses can result in unwanted consequences. USA be warned.

England had one more chance of finally scoring a goal of their own as Gerrard's cross came free to Rooney and Heskey in the box with both off by a fraction.

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