Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images
Keisuke Honda celebrates scoring Japan's equaliser.
Testament to Japan's growing status as a legitimate competitor on the world stage was the fact that—despite looking the inferior side—they continued to test Holland in the first half.
Up until Yuya Osako reduced the deficit, their threat mostly originated from the wings. Yuto Nagatomo consistently raced forward from left-back to attempt to cross. On the other side, the penetrating runs of attacker Shinji Okazaki certainly gave the Dutch cause for concern.
When Makoto Hasebe brilliantly turned, ran and fed in Osako to tuck it past Jasper Cillessen first time, it seemed to open up Zaccheroni's side to the possibility of finding ways through centrally too.
The spark that made Japan look so dangerous from both routes after the interval was the introduction of Yasuhito Endo and Shinji Kagawa.
Japan were not without some of their big-name players in the first half. Undoubtedly though, the arrival of this pair gave them a more comfortable, well-rounded look.
Keisuke Honda had struggled to get into the game previously, but clearly responded to having players around him more in tune to his wavelength.
He found Kagawa with a superbly-lofted ball over the Dutch defence on 50 minutes, the Manchester United player just running out of space after he had brought it down with his chest. Soon after, Kagowa and Endo combined to tee up Honda whose long-range shot came off the outside of the woodwork.
The greater fluency of Japan's attack was shown by their superb second goal.
Instigated by Atsuto Uchida, a rapid exchange of passes culminated in the full-back feeding Osako centrally in the box. The forward teed it up first time for Honda to convert.
They will need plenty of help besides, but when the likes of Kagawa and Honda are on-song, Japan are a genuinely exciting football team.