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Sunday, 7 June 2009

Japan Clinch Berth at 2010 World Cup

Japan duly booked their ticket for South Africa last night, with an accomplished 1-0 victory over Uzbakistan in Tashkent. Shinji Okazaki scored the lone goal after nine minutes, nodding home the rebound from his original toe-poked effort, as he tumbled under the challenge of a couple of Uzbek defenders.

Japan should have extended their lead later in the half, when Yoshito Okubo tucked home the rebound after an YasuhitoEndo free-kick came back off the post. However, the Syrian ref was determined to do all he could to keep the outclassed Uzbeks in the contest and duly disallowed the goal. Even with their extra man, the Uzbeks were incapable of mounting a serious threat to Narazaki's goal. A series of wild crosses and rugby conversions were all the managed for most of the match. It took another intervention by their Syrian friend to even up the contest, as he found an excuse to send both Makoto Hasebe and manager Okada off in the second half. However, Japan held on until the final whistle, and apart from an injury time save, when he tipped a well-struck free-kick onto the bar, Narazaki was rarely troubled.

Uzbekistan Vs. Japan at

Other Views:
Daily Gomiuri: Japan 1st in world to qualify for 2010 World Cup
The Guardian: Japan, Australia and Holland qualify for World Cup finals Japan coach Okada happy as qualification secured

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