On Thursday 24 March, the SAMURAI BLUE (Japan National Team) faced the Australia National Team in their ninth match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ AFC Asian Qualifier (Road to Qatar) at Stadium Australia in Sydney. With their late substitute MITOMA Kaoru (Royale Union Saint‑Gilloise) scoring two goals in the closing minutes of the match, Japan defeated Australia 2-0 to secure their sixth consecutive win in the group as well as their spot into their seventh consecutive FIFA World Cup™. Australia are now set to play in the third-place play-off against the third-place finisher of Group A.
As a result, Japan have now accumulated 21 points from seven wins and two losses, with their final match against Vietnam still left to be played (3/29@Saitama). In addition, with Saudi Arabia drawing 1-1 against China PR at a different venue, Japan has surpassed the Saudis who have 20 points with the same number of matches played.
Entering the match in a position to clinch the World Cup with a win, Japan started GONDA Shuichi (Shimizu S-Pulse) in goal with YOSHIDA Maya (UC Sampdoria), ITAKURA Kou (FC Schalke 04), YAMANE Miki (Kawasaki Frontale), and NAGATOMO Yuto (FC Tokyo) forming the defence line. MORITA Hidemasa (CD Santa Clara), ENDO Wataru (VfB Stuttgart), and TANAKA Ao (Fortuna Dusseldorf) were positioned as the central midfielders, while ASANO Takuma (VfL Bochum) was named as the lone striker with ITO Junya (KRC Genk) and MINAMINO Takumi (Liverpool FC) placed in the flanks. .....
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