Lackluster France loses 1-0 to Japan in friendly
SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) -France lost 1-0 at home to Japan on Friday in a lackluster performance that will give coach Didier Deschamps plenty to worry about ahead of next week's crucial World Cup qualifier away to reigning world and European champion Spain.
France only threatened late on, but after twice going close to scoring, was hit by a classic counterattack when Yasuyuki Konno netted in the 88th minute.
The ball was quickly worked up the field and Yuto Nagatomo crossed the ball in for Konno to stab the ball into the empty net past helpless goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Striker Karim Benzema went close to scoring in the first half when his free kick was saved by Eiji Kawashima, who kept out shots from substitute Mathieu Valbuena and Olivier Giroud in quick succession moments before Japan scored.