Saints stars Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida were both on the end of defeats in their opening group games at the Confederations Cup.
The duo’s respective campaigns got underway in Brazil over the weekend, with both men tasting defeat in tough matches.
Yoshida played the full 90 minutes as the Samurai Blue went down 3-0 to the tournament’s hosts on Saturday evening. Barcelona’s new signing, Neymar, scored after just three minutes for the Brazilians, with second half goals from Paulinho and former Manchester City striker, Jo, securing a comfortable win for Phil Scolari’s side.
Despite being part of a defence that conceded three times, Maya was in good form throughout, making a succession of blocks, and standing up to the threat of a fluid frontline.
Japan play Italy in their next Group A fixture, on Wednesday evening.
Gaston Ramirez played 45 minutes of Uruguay’s 2-1 defeat to Spain last night. Pedro, and Roberto Soldado, were each on target to give the current World Cup holders a 2-0 half-time lead, before Liverpool frontman, Luis Suarez struck a late consolation.
Although it was an improved second half showing, the game was not as narrow as the scoreline suggests, whilst the sweltering conditions added to the hard work that Ramirez and his teammates had to put in. Gaston was replaced at half time by Gonzalez Luengo, but hopes to have done enough to keep his place in the starting line up when Uruguay play Nigeria on Thursday.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Zambian striker, Mayuka was a late substitute in his nation’s 1-1 draw with Sudan in a World Cup qualifier, a result which leaves the Chipolopolo facing a showdown against Ghana in September, to make it through.
Herve Renard’s team went ahead through Jacob Mulenga in Ndola, but the visitors were level just two minutes later. Mayuka was introduced for the final ten minutes of action, but could not find a way past the Sudanese defence.