Netherlands beat Japan 3-0 last year and there’s no reason to believe today’s result, if perhaps not the score, should be any different. On paper, Netherlands is far superior to Japan’s squad comprised almost entirely of J-league stars. Still, if Japan’s opening 1-0 victory is any indication, Japan will bring the effort and one never knows how that might be rewarded.

After an early corner, it’s several minutes of keep away for the Netherlands. It ends up with a questionable free kick just outside the box.

The Orange are being patient, but with Japan playing back and hoping for the counter, there’s almost no space for creativity. It’s a good strategy for the Japanese, but as I’ve noted before it’s tedious for the soccer fan. Not much in the way of chances for either squad.

Yellow to Van der Weil at about 36 minutes.

0-0 at half. Netherlands continues to be patient and content themselves with possession. Japan is packing the back and deny space and rely on a counterattack to provide offense. If someone—anyone—would score the game would be forced open a bit. As is, I’m glad I didn’t spend money to watch the game because I can’t imagine anything as boring as this first half. Watching paint dry would be a step up.

I find it laughable that Japan, who have the kickoff for the second half, start six men along the half line like they’re proposing to come out with six forwards after spending the first half packing every available body into their defensive third. That’s comedy gold, there.

Netherlands with an early heading chance, but easily saved. Japan is running their forwards higher this way, or so it looks to me, which will allow the Orange more space. I think this is a mistake for them, but good for me.

Netherlands with some pressure. Yes, well, I liked that. Holland puts in a rocket on what looked like a terrible keeper error. I could be mistaken, but that’s how it looked to me. Nice hard shot either way. 1-0 Netherlands.

The last 15 minutes turns entertaining as Japan is forced throw people forward and both sides get some good shots. Netherlands holds on for the 1-0 victory.