Two-time world champions Uruguay powered their way to a 3-1 victory over Japan on Wednesday in a tune-up match for the FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers next month.
Uruguay conceded an own goal at the beginning of the second half. However, they capitalised on a careless Japanese back pass, with midfielder Sebastian Eguren finishing it off to tie the score in the 55th minute. They then added to their tally in the 83rd minute, when forward Luis Suarez got crossed for midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez to score.
The Japanese attempted a comeback in the last minutes, but that allowed the visitors to make another counter-attack. Jorge Rodriguez was checked by a defender, but Sebastian Abreu snatched the rebound to hit home in injury time.
"I have to accept this 3-1 defeat. Uruguay are a good team. We couldn't get a goal after 1-1. I hoped my players could cope with them by teamwork," said Japan coach Takeshi Okada. "But Uruguay did a very good job today. I think my players learned that we must always move forward, not the other way," Okada added.
With the win, Uruguay improved their record against Japan to two wins, one draw and one defeat. Uruguay, FIFA World Cup winners in 1930 and 1950, are in sixth place in the South American group. The top four teams from that group automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup. The fifth-placed team play off against a squad from the group covering North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Uruguay play Colombia in Bogota on 6 September and take on Ecuador in a home match in Montevideo four days later. Japan were drawn with Australia, Bahrain, Uzbekistan and Qatar in the Asian Group A final qualifying round, starting with a game against Bahrain in capital Manama on 6 September.
The top two teams from Group A and the top two from Group B qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals, while the third-placed teams in each group face each other for a spot in a play-off against the Oceania winners.