This article first appeared on SportsLook, JAPAN Forward's dedicated sports website.
Exhibition matches give a coaching staff opportunities to evaluate a team's preparations for big events, including the biggest of them, the FIFA World Cup.
Canada's 2-1 victory in Dubai at Al-Maktoum Stadium was a reminder that world rankings often mean very little once a match kicks off.
Japan is 24th in the rankings, while Canada is 41st. Canada is on the verge of competing in the World Cup for the first time since 1986, and Japan is getting ready for its seventh consecutive appearance.
Thursday's showdown wasn't a manifestation of either nation's soccer history. Instead, it was a visual display of Canada's resilience and joy to be gearing up for a trip to Qatar and a place in the 32-nation tournament.
Read the full story, which also includes news items on basketball, baseball, track and field, horse racing and more, on SportsLook.
Author: Ed Odeven
Follow Ed on JAPAN Forward's [Japan Sports Notebook] here on Sundays, in [Odds and Evens] here during the week, and Twitter ＠ed_odeven, and find him on JAPAN Forward's dedicated sports website, SportsLook.