Japan Australia WCup 2022 Soccer
Japanese players celebrate after Australia's Aziz Behich, third from right, makes an own goal during their World Cup 2022 group B qualifying soccer match between Australia and Japan, at Saitama Stadium 2002 in Saitama on Tuesday night. Photo: AP/Shuji Kajiyama)

Japan beats Australia 2-1 in World Cup qualifying match


An Australian own-goal kept Japan in the race for an automatic spot in next year's World Cup.

Australia defender Aziz Behich put the ball into his own net in the 85th minute Tuesday to give Japan a 2-1 victory and six points from four matches in Group B, three points behind the Aussies and six behind Saudi Arabia.

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan tipped a shot from Takuma Asano and the ball bounced off the post and then ricocheted off Behich and into the net, ending Australia's run of 11 consecutive wins in World Cup qualifying games.

"We kept fighting until the end and never gave up," Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said. "We showed our determination to get to the World Cup."

Only the top two teams from each of the two six-team groups will automatically qualify for the tournament in Qatar.

Ao Tanaka gave Japan an early lead at Saitama Stadium before Ajdin Hrustic equalized in the 70th.

"Both teams had a go at each other," Australia coach Graham Arnold said. "We were unlucky that we hit the post but ... it wasn't meant to be. "

Australia was awarded a penalty kick midway through the second half when Hidemasa Morita brought down Hrustic on the edge of the area. But before Martin Boyle could take the kick, referee Abdulrahman Al-Jassim of Qatar reversed the call after a video review, ruling that the challenge had taken place just outside the box.

Japan is seeking a seventh straight World Cup appearance. Australia has appeared at every World Cup since 2006.

"It was a great win for us but there are still a lot of difficult games to come," Moriyasu said. "We have to make sure we build on this win."

Saudi Arabia beat fifth-place China 3-2 in Jeddah to record a fourth straight win and go three points clear at the top. In the group's other game, Oman rallied to beat Vietnam 3-1 and go third, above Japan by virtue of scoring more goals.

Australia and Saudi Arabia will meet on Nov. 11, when Japan is away at Vietnam.

In Group A, Iran and South Korea drew 1-1 in an empty stadium in Tehran.

Son Heung-min gave South Korea the lead early in the second half, running onto a through ball to curl a shot around the goalkeeper. With 14 minutes remaining, an Alireza Jahanbakhsh header allowed Iran to equalize and remain on top of the standings. Iran has 10 points, two more than second-place South Korea.

Lebanon is third with five points after a 3-2 win over Syria. In a meeting of Dutch coaches, Bert van Marwijk's United Arab Emirates lineup was held to a 2-2 draw by Dick Advocaat's Iraq in Dubai, a result that leaves both teams on three points, two ahead of Syria.

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surprised it was only 2-1 given the rubbish Australia served up....

2 ( +7 / -5 )

On yesterday’s performance, not sure how Australia was on such a winning streak.

Behich had a shocker - lose the man bun mate

0 ( +7 / -7 )

It looks like spectators gave a lot of guts to Japan team to win. Supporters' shouts are good help and give them courage to win.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan’s first goal and Australia’s equalizer among the very few moments of quality. Japan’s winner lucky and undeserved.

These teams wouldn’t worry quality teams too much at the World Cup on that showing.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Australia played like absolute rubbish!

especially the goalkeeper!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Same thing happened in 2006 and 2010. Japan supposedly on the brink of not qualifying, negative press on coach, fans following press like sheep and booing the coach. Then they turned things around and got in. Then you get those people that say that Japan would be better under a foreign coach though their best World Cup records came under a Japanese coach.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It was a great game. It was fun to watch.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

watched the game last night on Asahi TV and kept on wondering the J-commentators were on about when they repeatedly said "Full Stich". Knowing that for football they often hitch together English words to make a sports specific phrase, such as "middle shoot" for a long shot, I puzzled over whatever tactic "full stitch" was meant to mean.......then it dawned on me it was the Australian player Ajdin Hristic!! (アイディン) フルスティッチ .....not a tactic at all

5 ( +6 / -1 )

watched the game last night on Asahi TV and kept on wondering the J-commentators

Japanese style commentary gives me ulcers. Sou desu ne... I wish they was always a sub-audio with ground sounds only and no commentary.

Well done Japan, deserved to beat the flopperoos.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

On yesterday’s performance, not sure how Australia was on such a winning streak.

Simple, they hadn't played any decent teams.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The score belies how in control Japan felt that game. I don't have the actual statistics on hand, but it feels like the ball was almost entirely in Japanese control that game. Australia barely even shot at all, outside of their goal off a free kick.

Japan wasn't playing very aggressively either, but they did feel way more in control the entire time to me.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

great game and well done Japan - lets hope they carry this momentum and start going on a winning streak!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Asia as a whole sucks at soccer. The only semi-decent team is S. Korea, everyone else is boring to watch and hopeless

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

3 cheers to Samurai Blue. Well played Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Aussie goalkeeper did a great job (the unlucky own goal wasn't his fault). The other Aussie players seemed to make lots of passing errors though...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The only semi-decent team is S. Korea, everyone else is boring to watch and hopeless"

Oh well!

Please explain why Iran is Asia's leading footballing Nation then.

Also why apart from a 4th WC position in 2002 at home, lots of cheating in between) SK loses on all fronts against Japan; men and women alike.

Go check.

I have already done it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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