Japan first to qualify for World CupJune 7th, 2009 - 2:00 am ICT by IANS
Bangkok, June 7 (DPA) Japan became the first team to qualify for the 2010 football World Cup with a 1-0 victory in Uzbekistan on Saturday.
Japan join South Africa, who have direct entry as hosts, at the 32-team tournament thanks to Shinji Okazaki’s ninth-minute goal in Tashkent.
Shunsuke Nakamura almost doubled the lead in the 76th and Japan retained the lead in the end even though Makoto Hasebe was sent off in the 89th.
Japan, who were also the first team to qualify for the 2006 edition, will play in their fourth straight World Cup.
North Korea and Iran, meanwhile, played to a 0-0 draw in Pyongyang, which helped neither side in group 2. The United Arab Emirates were due to host leaders South Korea later in the day.
The home side dominated most of the game, but Iran goalkeeper Seyed Rahmati pulled off a number of spectacular saves to deny Hong Yong-Jo and Pak Nam-Chol.
Japan, meanwhile, moved atop group 1 with 14 points and are assured of qualifying in first or second place ahead of their final two games.
Australia took 13 points into their game in Qatar later Saturday and required only a draw to go to South Africa next year as well. Bahrain have seven points, Uzbekistan and Qatar have four each.
The two top teams in each group qualify, the third-placed teams meet in a two-legged playoff.
In group 1, South Korea have 11 points from five games, North Korea 11 from seven of their eight matches, and Saudi Arabia 10 points from six matches. Iran hope for a playoff on seven points and the UAE are last on one point.
- Japan, Australia, South Korea through to 2010 World Cup (Asian Roundup) - Jun 07, 2009
- Japan, Australia, South Korea qualify for World Cup (Lead) - Jun 07, 2009
- North Korea suffers World Cup setback - Jun 06, 2009
- Draw for 2014 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers final round - Mar 09, 2012
- Japan eyeing semi-final berth (Group E team profile) - May 30, 2010
- Lebanon beat Iran 1-0 in World Cup qualifier - Sep 12, 2012
- Iran to play UAE in football friendly - Apr 05, 2012
- Crunch time for Asian Champions League hopefuls - Feb 17, 2012
- Japan set-plays down Danes (Lead) - Jun 25, 2010
- Japan, first to qualify - hopefully not first to leave (Team Profile) - Dec 02, 2009
- AFC Challenge Cup: India end campaign with 0-4 loss to North Korea - Mar 13, 2012
- Zaccheroni to stay with Japan for two more years - Jun 23, 2012
- Asian Games: Athletics make it a golden Sunday for India (Roundup) - Nov 21, 2010
- Boxer Mary Kom settles for bronze, India's Asiad tally at 46 (Evening Lead) - Nov 24, 2010
- FIFA awards UAE win in Olympic qualifier - Feb 08, 2012
Tags: chol, five games, football world cup, goalkeeper, makoto, minute goal, north korea, okazaki, pak nam, pyongyang, rahmati, saudi arabia, seven points, seyed, shunsuke nakamura, south korea, straight world, tashkent, two games, united arab emirates