Miyagi, Japan: Turkey broke Japanese hearts with a 1-0 victory that knocked the co-host out of the World Cup on Tuesday. AC Milan's Umit Davala, rising unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, headed home a corner from Ergun Penbe in the 12th minute to seal a quarterfinal place against Senegal. It was his second of the tournament. Japan, making history by qualifying for the second round, was roared on by a vociferous crowd in blue shirts in the driving rain. Alessandro Santos came closest to leveling the score, but saw a curling free kick from the edge of the box come crashing back off the crossbar in the 41st minute. The Brazilian-born midfielder, however, was taken off at halftime, alongside Junichi Inamoto. In the early stages, neither side got a grip on the game. With the pitch slippery, players were pumping long balls forward in hope of a knock on. The breakthrough came after Japan conceded an unnecessary corner after a poor backpass. That set the tone for much of the half as the co-host frequently made passing errors. The Turks, launching several counterattacks, almost made it 2-0 in the 24th minute when a lofted pass found Hakan Sukur breaking into the box on the left. But his ambitious lob was kept out by Japanese 'keeper Seigo Narazaki. Moments later, Sukur knocked the ball into the path of Hasan Sas, on the edge of the area, whose powerful shot flew over the bar. There were few early glimpses of the fluent, attacking soccer that led Japan to surprisingly finish top of Group H. But as the half drew to an end, Japan got back in the match, prompted by the energetic Santos and Hidetoshi Nakata. In the second half, Takayuki Suzuki and Daisuke Ichikawa were brought on by Japanese coach Philippe Troussier. The changes came as a surprise, but Japan started on top as the Turks sat back and soaked up relentless pressure. Nakata lifted the home fans' spirits with a 52nd minute drive from 20 yards which took a deflection and went straight at Turkish 'keeper Rustu Recber. Shinji Ono was behind much of his team's attacks from midfield. In the 61st minute, Akinori Nishizawa tested Recber with a strong header from a right-wing cross. The pace of the game picked up considerably, and both sides were attacking. But the strong Turkish back four managed to repel everything Japan could throw at it. Goalscorer Davala was brought off with 15 minutes left, replaced by fellow striker Nihat Kahveci. The Japanese struggled to find the final ball and had to settle for long-range strikes which rarely troubled the Turks. Lineups: Japan: 12-Seigo Narazaki, 3-Naoki Matsuda, 5-Junichi Inamoto (22-Daisuke Ichikawa, 46th, 8-Hiroaki Morishima, 86th), 7-Hidetoshi Nakata, 9-Akinori Nishizawa, 14-Alessandro Santos (11-Takayuki Suzuki, 46th), 16-Koji Nakata, 17-Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, 18-Shinji Ono, 20-Tomokazu Myojin, 21-Kazuyuki Toda. Turkey: 1-Rustu Recber, 3-Bulent Korkmaz, 4-Fatih Akyel, 5-Alpay Ozalan, 8-Tugay Kerimoglu, 9-Hakan Sukur (c), 10-Yildiray Basturk (17-Ilhan Mansiz, 90th), 11-Hasan Sas (14-Tayfur Havutcu, 85th), 18-Ergun Penbe, 20-Hakan Unsal, 22-Umit Davala (15-Nihat Kahveci, 74th). Referee: Pierluigi Collina, Italy.
Topics : Football