Samurai Blue confirm Ghana for pre-World Cup send-off

The Samurai Blue will host Ghana on May 30 in their last local fixture before the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the Japan Football Association announced on Wednesday afternoon.

The friendly at Yokohama’s Nissan Stadium, site of the 2002 World Cup final, will feature Japan’s second African opposition this spring as they prepare to face Senegal in Group H.

“After our March friendly against Mali we’ll be playing Ghana, who I think are very similar to Senegal. We have to get used to teams with explosive speed, power, and aggressiveness,” Japan head coach Vahid Halilhodzic said in a statement.

“It will be important to show what we can do in our last match in Japan. We want to prepare well ahead of the tournament and I hope our supporters will help us by creating a great atmosphere as always.”

Japan have won their last two encounters with the Black Stars, the most recent a 3-1 result in the 2013 Kirin Challenge Cup at Nissan Stadium.

The 55th-ranked FIFA nation are bound for Europe next week for international friendlies against Mali on March 23 and Ukraine on March 27.