Japan beat Vietnam 1-0 at Kobe Wing Stadium thanks to the solitary goal for the Asian champions scored by Tadanari Lee after he took a neat pass from a teammate from the right wing and fired a shot from close range.
Vietnam failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup after losing 1-4 to Qatar on aggregate in the second qualifying round. However, Vietnam's 2-1 home win over Qatar at Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium on July 28 was an impressive show that made the Japan Football Association invite Vietnam to Kobe for the friendly game Friday October 7.
The Japanese players, ranked 15th in the world, proved superior to the 130th-ranked Vietnamese players on the field, though neither side gave it their all during the friendly.
Also, the match was a great chance for Vietnam's national football team coach to test his players, especially some key players from the Under-23 squad, so that he could better prepare the U23 team for the 26th South East Asian Games in Indonesia next month.
Though it was a friendly match, it attracted a huge crowd of Japanese fans who filled up the Kobe Wing Stadium. They showed strong support for the players on the field.
However, the field itself was not as exciting as it was in the stands. The Japanese footballers played at a pretty slow pace, trying to keep the ball in their possession as much as possible; and they had better control of the match.
The Vietnamese team had five players in the midfield, so they had sufficient support for their defenders against attacks from the Japanese rivals. Striker Le Cong Vinh took care of most attacks.
However, Vietnam had some scoring opportunities and Cong Vien had at least one clear chance but he failed to convert it into a goal. Aslo, it looked as though the Vietnamese players were calm and strong enough in defense but confused on Japan's side of the field.
Japan launched more attacks as the match was drawing to an end and one of their attacks was so dangerous that Vietnam's central fullback Chi Cong had no choice but tackle a Japanese striker. As a result, Chi Cong was sent off with the second yellow card.
The hosts looked even stronger afterwards as their strikers began to strike but the Vietnamese visitors stood firm until the final whistle.