Soccer

Samurai Blue get blanked by Switzerland in friendly

Kyodo

Japan lost 2-0 to Switzerland in a pre-World Cup friendly on Friday, just six days before the start of the tournament in Russia.

Ricardo Rodriguez and Haris Seferovic scored to seal Switzerland’s win at Stadium Cornaredo in the Swiss border city of Lugano.

Japan, currently 61st in the FIFA rankings, will make its sixth straight World Cup appearance when the 32-team tournament kicks off on June 14. Sixth-ranked Switzerland will be playing in its 11th World Cup in Group E against Brazil, Costa Rica and Serbia.

The Samurai Blue were playing their second match under manager Akira Nishino, who took the reins in April following the shock firing of his predecessor Vahid Halilhodzic. On May 30, Japan lost 2-0 to Ghana in its first match under Nishino. The friendly in Yokohama was its final warmup on home soil.

The 23-man squad has been holding a pre-World Cup camp in the Austrian resort city of Innsbruck. The Samurai Blue will play their final warmup match on Tuesday against Paraguay.

Japan opens its World Cup campaign against Colombia in Saransk, Russia, on June 19. Japan will then face Senegal in Yekaterinburg on June 24, before playing its final group match against Poland in Volgograd on June 28.