Substitute Koji Yamase scored twice to lead Japan to a 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday ahead of crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifiers next month. After dominating the first half, the home side deservedly went ahead on 68 minutes thanks to defender Yuji Nakazawa to give new coach Takeshi Okada his first goal since taking over.

In the 83rd minute they extended their lead after Yamase was set up by Osaka forward Yoshito Okubo. Yamase grabbed his second - and Japan's third - with two minutes to go.

"My players were too slow in the first half and tried to score a clean goal so I had to tell them at half time to try to score greedily," said Okada. "It was good that we scored on a corner kick. After that, they appeared tired and we were able to add two more goals."

But they should have been out of sight by half time against a Bosnian side who attacked only on the break. Former Hamburger striker Naohiro Takahara and Okubo both missed when they might have scored, while Bosnian midfielder Mirko Hrgovic also squandered a presentable chance.

It was more of the same in the second half, only this time Japan were more sure infront of goal. The home side, who drew with Chile 0-0 on Saturday in a friendly, play a South Africa 2010 preliminary against Thailand on 6 February.

Japan and Thailand are in Asian Zone Group 2 with Bahrain and Oman. The top two teams will move on to another qualifying round in the fight for tickets to South Africa.

"We must fight hard against Thailand. I expect them to defend tightly and try to counter. It's a home game and we must win. We must take risks to get goals," Okada concluded.