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Japan beats Australia to secure seventh successive FIFA World Cup Qualification

Japan have qualified for the World Cup for the seventh successive time after a 2-0 victory over Australia.

Players from Japan's national team rejoicing at the match (Photo: BBC Sport)

Japan booked their place at this year's FIFA World Cup in Qatar with a dramatic victory against Australia that also confirmed Saudi Arabia's qualification for the tournament.

Two late goals from substitute Kaoru Mitoma in Sydney sealed Japan's place in Qatar with a game to spare.

Japan needed to beat Australia on home soil for the first time since 1998 to progress, and appeared to be heading towards a frustrating draw against a COVID-19-hit Aussie side.

However, Mitoma came off the bench to break the deadlock in the 90th minute.

Mitoma then put the result and qualification beyond doubt five minutes later when he skipped through the tiring Australia defence to score the second goal.

This win took the Japan team to the top of Group B of Asian qualifying, above Saudi Arabia who is four points clear of Australia.

Australia now faces a play-off campaign to reach a fifth successive World Cup.

They will next face Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on Tuesday, before going on to face the country that finishes third in Group A in a playoff game on 7 June.

With two group games to go, the United Arab Emirates are third in that group, three points ahead of Lebanon, while Iraq is a further point adrift.

The winner of that tie goes on to a play-off against the fifth-placed team from South America. (BBC Sport)


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