independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Japan on the verge of securing 2014 World Cup place

JAPAN are on the brink of becoming the first nation to qualify for the 2014 World Cup following a 2-1 win over Oman in Muscat.

Shinji Okazaki snatched a winner a minute from the end to move Japan eight points clear of their nearest rivals in Group B of the Asian qualifiers.







The Blue Samurai had led through Hiroshi Kiyotake's first ever international goal on 20 minutes but the hosts hit back when Ahmed Mubarak smashed in a free-kick on 77 minutes.







Japan, who were without injured Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa, had the final say when Okazaki netted from close range meaning Alberto Zaccheroni's side will book their place in Brazil should they beat bottom-placed Jordan in their next game.







The Jordanians have, however, already beaten second-placed Australia at home in qualifying but their bid suffered a setback with a 1-0 loss against Iraq in Doha today.







Hammadi Ahmed netted in the 86th minute to grab victory and move Iraq level with the Socceroos, who were not in qualifying action today, and Oman on five points.





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