SENDAI: Forward Shinji Okazaki scored a hat-trick to lead Japan to a 5-0 victory over second-string Togo on Wednesday in a tune-up game for next year's World Cup in South Africa.
"Our team created high-quality crosses. I just needed to flick it in. Whenever I found a space, I was expecting a cross to come. I was always free there," said a jubilant Okazaki. "It was nice to add a headed goal later."
World Cup qualifiers Japan showed they were streets ahead from the very beginning.
Japan became the first team to qualify for the World Cup when they defeated Uzbekistan in July, while Togo failed to reach the finals losing to Cameroon last weekend.
The Japanese took a comfortable 3-0 lead in the first 11 minutes, overwhelming their dejected opponents, who came here with only 14 players.
Shimizu S-Pulse striker Okazaki opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he netted a cross from the left by Gamba Osaka midfielder Yasuhito Endo.
Okazaki made it two up only three minutes later after Kawasaki Frontale midfielder Kengo Nakamura sent a cross from the right into the area, where Okazaki fired home past hapless goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale.
Catania striker Takayuki Morimoto scored his first goal for the national team in the 11th minute when he beat defender Boussari Akinsola in the area after receiving a pass from Yuto Nagatomo.
Togo were never able to create a clear scoring chance, forcing midfielder Sapol Mani to hit a desparate long shot from their own field in the 37th minute, the only shot on goal from the visitors.
The Japanese continued to take the initiative in the second half and Okazaki completed a hat-trick with a header on a pass from Wolfsburg midfielder Makoto Hasebe in the 65th minute.
With five minutes left, the Togo goalkeeper saved a shot, but Venlo midfielder Keisuke Honda, whose early shot hit the right post, quickly hit back the rebound to add an extra goal.
Honda said: "I missed a header goal earlier, so I feel relieved that I scored one."