The champions of Asia and CONCACAF went head to head in Ravenna in Group D’s opening match at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Predictably, the game was a close one with just one goal separating the sides by the time the final whistle sounded.
With Brazil and Ukraine waiting in the wings, both teams were looking for the best possible start and following a nervous opening, Japan took the lead through Shusei Yamauchi with 11 minutes on the clock.
Mexico got their noses in front in the second period after a Angel Rodriguez penalty and a Jose Cervantes header. Both sides scored twice in the final period. El Tri extended their lead when Ricardo Villalobos smashed a free kick into the net and Shunta Suzuki grabbed a consolation on the half hour mark with a well-taken individual goal.
In truth, Mexico deserved the win and they will take confidence going into their next game against Brazil on Sunday. Japan will be looking to bounce back against Ukraine.