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National team manager Vahid Halilhodzic demanded strong friendly opposition to help prepare Japan for next summer’s World Cup, and this coming week’s two fixtures certainly fit the bill.

Japan faces five-time world champion Brazil in Lille, France, on Friday before taking on European heavyweight Belgium four days later in Bruges. Brazil, which became the first team to qualify for Russia 2018, is probably the best team in the world on current form, while Belgium, boasting such formidable talent as Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, cannot be far behind.

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