Argentina, playing for the first time since their hugely disappointing World Cup campaign, beat World Cup hosts Japan, 2-0 in today’s friendly international.

Two goals in the space of three minutes were enough to earn the win. Marcelo Bielsa’s side took the lead two minutes after the break through midfielder Juan Pablo Sorin and added a second on 49 minnutes when striker Hernan Crespo headed in from close range.

Japan, playing without their leading European-based players such as Junichi Inamoto, Hidetoshi Nakata and Shinji Ono, looked dangerous in the opening period but were unable to convert several clear-cut chances.

The hosts were paid the price for their profligacy when Ariel Ortega found Sorin in the penalty area and the Lazio fired past Seigo Narazaki in the Japanese goal.

Two minutes later andthe contest was over when in-form Inter striker, Hernan Crespo, headed home at the far post.

Japan playedthe match without the serices of recently-appointed coach Zico. The former Brazilian legend had to return to his homeland after the death of his mother at the weekend.