Easy this time, says Samurai Blue's Yoshida
Southampton defender says win over Lions was easy enough
Mission accomplished, and it was so easy.
Southampton centre back Maya Yoshida was not being arrogant when he claimed Japan hardly broke sweat, after they beat Singapore 3-0 in the World Cup/Asian Cup Group E qualifier at the National Stadium last night.
The Samurai Blue, 52nd in Fifa rankings, dominated the midfield, camped in the Lions' half and thoroughly outplayed and outclassed the hosts as they ran out comfortable winners.
"Yes, it is mission accomplished," declared the 27-year-old Yoshida.
"It was an easy win but, to be fair, there are many Japanese players in this team who are playing in Europe.
"Maybe we could have scored more, especially in the second half. But we dominated in attack and kept a clean sheet so we should be happy."
Japan captain Makoto Hasebe was equally pleased with how his team exacted revenge for the shock 0-0 against the Lions at Saitama in June.
The 31-year-old said: "We did good in the first half, but the second half wasn't as good. Maybe it was because we were already leading 2-0 so we were not as aggressive as we could be.
"But this is still good for our confidence because we found solutions against a defensive team and scored three goals."
Japan were also on the front foot for almost the entire match in Saitama, but the difference this time was the crucial opening goal by Mu Kanazaki in the 20th minute. The early strike eased the pressure on the Japanese and turned the screws on the hosts, and Keisuke Honda's deflected effort six minutes later was effectively game, set and match.
Yoshida's close-range finish in the 87th minute was the icing on the cake, although Singapore goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud was once again in top form and kept the score down.
Japan goalkeeper Shusaku Nishikawa said: "It is necessary for us to keep a clean sheet even though Singapore did create some danger in the second half.
"After the draw at Saitama, we are satisfied with the three points tonight."
While satisfied, Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic was keen to impress upon his team that the journey towards World Cup qualification is still long.
The 63-year-old Bosnian said: "I faced a lot of criticism after the 0-0 draw against Singapore in June and I didn't understand the culture then. But we have moved on and we will continue to take risks, search for more options and give players the chance to express themselves.
"I'm very happy with what they showed, especially in the first half. (Mu) Kanazaki scored a good goal, (Hiroshi) Kiyotake was involved in some good build-ups, (Yosuke) Kashiwagi demonstrated good variation and we showed ambition.
"This was the first time in two games Singapore created chances against us, but the fact is our goalkeeper didn't touch the ball.
"We haven't won anything yet and we will continue to try and win our upcoming games to progress to the next round."