Own goals deny Japan
Two own goals saved England from embarassment in their final World Cup warm match as they came from behind to beat Japan 2-1 here on Sunday.
But the unconvincing victory threw up as many questions as answers for manager Fabio Capello just 48 hours before he must cut his squad for South Africa from 30 to 23.
The unfortunate Yuji Nakazawa and Marcus 'Tulio' Tanaka, who put his side ahead after six minutes, both turned the ball into their own net in the second half - just when it looked as though Japan were heading for the first victory over England in their history.
But although Capello can be pleased with the result there is no hiding the fact that his experimental side under-performed for large sections of the match and needed five second-half substitutions to bring them to life.
At times until then England were outplayed by a Japan side who went into the friendly fixture low on confidence following three defeats in four games and with manager Takeshi Okada said to be under intense pressure.
England's performance in the first half in particular was miserable as Capello's side were slovenly in attitude, sloppy in possession and short on ideas.
That was in part down to an experimental 4-2-4 formation that featured Aaron Lennon on the left wing and Theo Walcott on the right, a tactic which left Frank Lampard and the one-paced Tom Huddlestone fighting a losing battle in midfield where Japan enjoyed plenty of possession.
Okada's side were ahead after only six minutes when Glen Johnson lost his man from a Yasuhito Endo corner and Tulio swept home. The Japanese visibly grew in confidence after that, shaking off memories of recent defeats, including a 2-0 home reverse against South Korea earlier in the week, to dominate possession in areas that England would normally expect to call their own.
But in truth Japan were comfortable for most of the opening 45 minutes, even threatening a second when Rio Ferdinand slipped and Shinji Okazaki fired over the bar when well placed to score.
It was no surprise when Capello made five changes at half-time, bringing on Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jamie Carragher, Joe Hart and Steven Gerrard, with the disappointing Darren Bent, Walcott, David James and Huddlestone going off.
However, just when it seemed the Japanese were set to celebrate a landmark victory they finally cracked, Joe Cole's near-post cross headed into his own net after 71 minutes by the unfortunate Tanaka.
Then when Joe Cole fed Ashley Cole down the left 10 minutes later the Chelsea left-back's cross was turned into his own net by a sliding Nakazawa, sealing Japan's fate.