Tactical switches were the key for Japan in their Group D opener against Haiti as they took maximum points at the Soccer Only Field in Gwangyang on Sunday 19 August.

Possibly overawed by the occasion, Haiti marked their first ever appearance in the elite competition by focusing on holding Japan at bay. This approach proved costly when Tomotaka Okamoto broke the deadlock after 42 minutes, burying his free-kick with thunderous power and precision and sending the Asian side in happier at the break.

The Haitians refused to give up hope, though, and began the second half with more attacking intentions, an attitude that paid off when Joseph Guemsly Junior rifled a devastating effort high into the Japanese net with 71 minutes gone. That brought the newcomers level, but a goal apiece from substitutes Hiroki Kawano and Yoichiro Kakitani ultimately handed Japan a slightly flattering victory.