A game with few consequences left plenty in the way of questions as Japan overcame a first-half scare to draw 1-1 with Vietnam in their final World Cup qualifier, less than eight months before the tournament is scheduled to kick off in Qatar.

With qualification having already been secured in Thursday’s away win over Australia, head coach Hajime Moriyasu went to the reserves for his starting lineup, giving Sydney hero Kaoru Mitoma his first start and Celtic midfielder Reo Hatate his first senior appearance.

But Japan’s XI failed to gel on the pitch and fell victim to a well-organized and highly motivated Vietnam side that pressured the home team’s goal for much of the first half, taking the lead in the 19th minute when Nguyen Thanh Binh headed a corner kick past veteran Samurai Blue goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.