Japan got its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign off to an embarrassing start after being held to a 0-0 home draw by Singapore on Tuesday.

A crowd of 57,533 arrived at Saitama Stadium expecting to see Japan, which is bidding to claim a place at a sixth straight World Cup, breeze past Singapore, which is ranked 154th in the world and has never qualified for the world's top tournament.

But an inspired performance by Singapore goalkeeper Mohamad Izwan and some wasteful finishing by Japan meant that the game finished scoreless, giving the home side a reality check after winning its first three games under new manager Vahid Halilhodzic.