A 1-0 scoreline might not be a real reflection of the gulf in strength after Japan lost their Monday friendly at home to Brazil, especially with the shot count of 18-4 in the visitors' favor and none on target from the Samurai Blue.
But the fact they came within 13 minutes of securing a draw against the world's top-ranked nation will do Japan no harm as they prepare for their toughest World Cup group stage to date with Germany and Spain waiting later this year in Qatar.
There was an undeniable sense of excitement among the packed home faithful inside the National Stadium as Japan weathered the storm against Brazil, whose manager Tite showed no hesitancy in bringing on fresh, top-class talent one after another in search of a winner.
It arrived in the end through a Neymar penalty and the final outcome was what most would have expected prior to the game as Brazil came away triumphant in the country where they won their record fifth and last World Cup in 2002.
But for Japan, who had lost each of their previous four meetings with Brazil over the past decade by more than three goals, it was certainly not one to drop their heads.
"We did not stand a chance in my previous games against Brazil," said 35-year-old Yuto Nagatomo, who more than justified his spot in the side after keeping the rapidly rising Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid quiet despite playing in his less-natural right-back position.
"I believe the gap was bigger than one goal, but I personally had more positives to take compared with the previous ones."
While it may have been a friendly, Japan at least showed they can frustrate any opposition, with Ko Itakura adding a welcome depth at the back amid the prolonged absence of Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Japan's main issue, which was not exposed so much during the final Asian qualifiers, became apparent -- when they had the ball.
Brazil pounced whenever Japan dwelt in their buildup, catching the home side high up the pitch, with manager Hajime Moriyasu admitting he needs to work on cutting out such potentially crucial errors.
"We need to up our level in negating the press. The players did what they can at this moment, they seldom just pumped it forward," he reflected positively.
On Monday's evidence, however, scoring will be as much, or an even bigger, problem for Japan when facing top-class opponents in less than six months' time.
Takumi Minamino and Kyogo Furuhashi did not get a chance to show their clinical finishing inside the box, while it took the half-time introduction of Daichi Kamada to provide a little more dimension to the attack.
Wingers Junya Ito and Kaoru Mitoma both played vital roles as Japan secured their seventh straight World Cup berth, but unlike in Asia, neither could get past their opposing Brazilian fullbacks on the night.
"They managed to deal with me despite being tired. I felt their pace and power," said Mitoma, who was a 73rd-minute substitute. "They all had ideas to beat their man and could all attack, defend, dribble and pass as well. Their average ability was insanely high."
While probably not as blessed as his Brazilian counterpart, Moriyasu is spoiled for choice himself in attacking positions with Ritsu Doan and unused Takefusa Kubo among those waiting in the wings.
With all 11 players needing to be fully switched on against stronger nations, Moriyasu is tasked with finding the right mix of attackers who can offer sufficient defensive contributions and also combine to pose enough threat going forward.
It is an equation that will test the manager's ability right up to the day of each match and the latest pulsating encounter with Brazil, lauded by Tite as "World-Cup level," should give Moriyasu food for thought ahead of the biggest stage.