In a clash of styles, the Africans' physical strength soon proved too much for the pacy Japanese. Indeed, with 21 minutes gone Macauley Chrisantus fed Ganiyu Oseni out wide and the latter's shot zipped past Ryotaro Hironaga to put Nigeria in front. Ten minutes later, the roles were reversed as Oseni set Chrisantus up to provide the finishing touch, leaving their opponents returned to their dressing-room with a mountain to climb at half-time.
After the restart, Hiroshi Jofuku introduced super-sub Yoichiro Kakitani into the fray, but he was unable to pull his team back into contention. In fact, it was the Golden Eagles who continued to look more likely to score and they did precisely that with seven minutes left, when the unstoppable Chrisantus pounced on a loose ball in the area and buried it in the back of the net.
Having earned six points from two matches, the African champions are already assured a berth in the knockout stages, while Japan need at least a draw in their final game against France to join them.