A squad in transition following a surprisingly successful run in the World Cup. A new head coach establishing his vision. A South American opponent ranked fifth in the world. A sold-out Saitama Stadium. An impressive win that fans will look back on as having set the tone for the upcoming four-year cycle and put the world on notice that Japan is ready to stand up and be counted.

On Oct. 8, 2010, the Samurai Blue stunned Argentina 1-0 despite possession of just 39 percent, holding off Lionel Messi and company to defend Shinji Okazaki's goal midway through the first half.

It was Italian manager Alberto Zaccheroni's first match in charge after visa delays caused him to miss the September friendlies. He liked what he saw, eventually making the players from that game the core of his side that went on to capture the 2011 Asian Cup.