Japan becomes 1st team to reach 2014 World Cup

Updated: 04 June 2013 19:07 IST

Japan needed at least a point to clinch a spot in next year's World Cup in Brazil from Group B in Asian qualifying.

Japan becomes 1st team to reach 2014 World Cup

Saitama, Japan:

Japan became the first team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup on Tuesday after a stoppage-time penalty by Keisuke Honda secured a 1-1 draw with Australia.

Tommy Oar had given Australia a 1-0 lead in the 82nd minute with a lob over Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawasahima but a handball by Matthew McKay set up the penalty for Honda, who beat Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with left-footed shot into the top of the net. Japan needed at least a point to clinch a spot in next year's World Cup in Brazil from Group B in Asian qualifying.

Honda had missed Japan's last two matches - both defeats.

Both teams had great scoring chances in the first half, but Schwarzer got his right hand up to block Shinji Kagawa's shot from close range. Later, Brett Holman fed a through ball to Robbie Kruse who fired a right-footed shot that Kawashima knocked down with an outstretched arm.

Japan, eager to secure qualification at home, started the second half strong with Kagawa grazing the crossbar with an angled shot in the 59th minute.

Just when the match looked set to finish in a goalless draw, Oar silenced the crowd of 62,172 when he beat a Japanese defender on the wing and sent a lob toward the net that dipped inside the bar and past the flailing arm of Kawashima.

Schwarzer then stopped Yuto Nagatomo's shot from close range in the 80th minute before Oar put the visitors ahead minutes later.

Australia, bidding for a third straight World Cup appearance, is second in Group B with seven points with two matches remaining.

Topics : Football Australia Japan Keisuke Honda Robbie Kruse
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