World Cup: Japan and Australia draw – Frantic finish

A fast paced first half was a prelude to a frantic finish. Tommy Oar took the man-of-the-match and did himself a favour as the eyes and scouts of the world watched on.

The World Cup Qualifier contested by experienced coaches Alberto Zaccheroni and Holger Osiek saw the points shared. The point was better for Japan but a point worthwhile for Australia in difficult match in Saitama, Japan.

End-to-end attacking was the theme of the first half. A fine save from Mark Schwarzer and a one v one save off Robbie Kruse were the highlights although you could not take your eyes off the game.

Mark Bresciano controlled the middle and was the barometer of a first half fitting of an international match.

Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda began to dominate and brought danger to the Australian defence.

The Australians began to tire and the Japanese players could be mistaken for Duracell bunnies. They were spurred on by a vocal crowd.

The Atmosphere from the outset was electric. The travelling Australian supporters enjoyed it and backed their team, but the home support was something else.

Tim Cahill nearly broke the deadlock at one end but the shot was blocked. Japan and Kagawa hit the bar. Endo began to play balls from deep to the dangerous Honda and Kagawa.

On the 81st minute a mazy run on the left from Tommy Oar crossed a drifting ball into the back post and the keeper could not get his hand on it. GOAL Australia. The Socceroos hit the front.

When it looked like the Green and Gold would hold on there was a final twist in the tale.

An in-swinging cross from left off Honda’s foot struck the arm of Matt McKay on the 90th minute and the referee pointed to the spot. Honda lined up and drilled the ball straight and hard. Schwarzer had no chance choosing to dive to his left.

Japan have qualified for the World Cup. Australia has a set of home games to Jordan and Iraq and should go on to also go to Brazil next year.

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