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Soccer: France suffer shock defeat by Japan in Paris friendly

Japan's Shinji Kagawa (bottom, L) dives to score the victory goal for his team over France during their international friendly soccer match
Japan's Shinji Kagawa (bottom, L) dives to score the victory goal for his team over France during their international friendly soccer match

PARIS (Reuters) - France suffered an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat by Japan in a friendly on Friday that caused raised eyebrows four days before Les Bleus travel to champions Spain for a World Cup Group I qualifier.

Didier Deschamps's side toiled in a dull encounter at the Stade de France and lost to Japan for the first time after Shinji Kagawa poked the ball home at the end of a lightning counter-attack two minutes from time.

France were shaky at the back, toothless up front and failed to stamp their authority on the midfield in the absence of the injured Abou Diaby and Rio Mavuba.

The home team could have taken the lead a few minutes before Kagawa's goal but Olivier Giroud's fine volley was superbly parried by keeper Eiji Kawashima.

"It's a bad result. Japan had more opportunities after the break but we also had ours and you can't win when you don't score from your chances," Deschamps told the TF1 television station.

Yasuhito Endo also tied the record of 122 full international appearances held by former Japan defender Masami Ihara.

Spain warmed up for Tuesday's game against France with a comprehensive 4-0 World Cup win over Belarus in Minsk on Friday.

France and Spain both have six points from two games in Group I, with the world and European champions top on goal difference.

(This version of the story corrects the goalscorer's name to Shinji Kagawa in paragraph two and four.)

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Tony Jimenez)

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