Soccer: Japan to play Brazil in World Cup warmup in June

Japan will play Brazil at Tokyo's National Stadium on June 6 in preparation for this year's World Cup in Qatar, the Japan Football Association said Wednesday.

The friendly against the five-time World Cup winners, currently No. 1 in world, will be one of four matches the Samurai Blue will play as part of the Kirin Challenge Cup series, including a June 2 clash against Paraguay in Sapporo.

Japan, ranked 23rd, have never beaten Brazil, recording 10 losses and two draws in their previous meetings. The two sides met most recently in a November 2017 friendly, with Japan breaking an 11-year goal drought against the Brazilians before eventually falling 3-1.

"I am very excited about the opportunity to play the top-ranked Brazilian team at this time, when we are gearing up for the World Cup," Japan head coach Hajime Moriyasu said in a statement.

"While paying respect to our top-ranked opponents, I want our team to play to their level and not think less of themselves. I demand the team have a winning attitude," he said.

Led by forward Neymar, Brazil are currently the bookies' favorites to win the 2022 World Cup. A total of 32 teams will compete in the World Cup, which takes place in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.

© Kyodo News