Japan coasts to 4-0 win over Iraq in friendly ahead of 2018 World Cup qualifying



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    YOKOHAMA, Japan — Japan beat Iraq 4-0 on Thursday in a friendly ahead of its qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

    Two goals in the first nine minutes from Keisuke Honda and Tomoaki Makino put Japan firmly in control at Nissan Stadium. Shinji Okazaki added a third in the 32nd minute and Genki Haraguchi came off the bench to seal the win with his first national team goal late in the second half.

    Iraq seldom threatened but Justin Hikmat Azeez went close with a free kick in first-half injury time.

    Japan plays Singapore in Saitama on Tuesday in its opening Group E match in the second round of Asian qualifiers.

    The four-time Asian champions have also been drawn with Cambodia, Afghanistan and Syria.

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