Okazaki strike upsets Argentina
Boasting the attacking power of Lionel Messi and Carlos Tevez, La Albiceleste pressed from the outset and caused all sorts of problems for a defence without the injured Marcus Tulio Tanaka and Yuji Nakazawa. However, Okazaki struck in the 19th minute and the hosts defended well to hold on and secure a morale-boosting win.
Messi first threatened in the seventh minute with a neat chipped effort from inside the box, and the Barcelona forward was again at the forefront of the action with quarter of an hour gone, when he dribbled into the area before hitting a shot from a tight angle straight at goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.
But it was Japan who took the lead four minutes later, when Makoto Hasebe received the ball from Keisuke Honda and struck an effort which was initially saved by Sergio Romero only for Okazaki to pounce and stab home the rebound.
The South Americans rallied and first Tevez tried his luck in the 25th minute, before Messi again threatened with a free-kick two minutes later. Argentina interim coach Sergio Batista introduced Gonzalo Higuain for Diego Milito after 33 minutes to freshen up his attack, but it was their hosts who looked the most dangerous before half-time as Atsuto Uchida fired over in the 43rd minute.
Argentina came out strong in the second half, with Messi and Tevez looking dangerous, although Japan's defence was holding firm and doing well to repel any attacks. Messi should have done better just before the hour when he hit a shot high over the bar, before a Tevez effort was saved by Kawashima with 15 minutes remaining.