Kaoru Mitoma scored twice in the dying minutes as Japan beat Australia 2-0 to secure their place in the seventh straight of the World Cup and in doing so Saudi Arabia helped. in due course.
It’s a huge disappointment for the Socceroos who aren’t strong enough to face a disastrous game to continue their hopes of entering the tournament in Qatar.
The game in wet Sydney on Friday was expected to be a draw before Mitoma’s turnaround from close to 89 minutes, and then after a painful run to spark happy celebrations. from strangers.
“I knew it was a close game so when I was sitting at the table I just thought, when I get to the field, I have to do my job and get a goal,” he said. said Mitoma, 24. player for Belgium’s Union SG on loan from Premier League Brighton.
“I’m really happy with the players and the people who came back to Japan, and everyone is Japanese.”
The win gave the Blue Samurai the top spot in Group B Asia at No. 21, six ahead of Australia with just one game to play.
The Saudis, at number 19, will face China in Sharjah later on Friday but their place in Qatar has been confirmed following Japan’s victory.
Australia could not finish higher than third, requiring a game against the third team in Asia Group A. Then the winner will face a team from South America for good. to play in Qatar later this year.
Japan started the tournament with two defeats from their first three games, but won six in a row.
They went to the top flight in front of nearly 42,000 fans at Stadium Australia with clear intent. Australia’s last win over them was in 2009 and Hajime Moriyasu’s men won a landslide 2-1 victory when the two teams met in October.
Australia have lost a string of players due to coronavirus injuries or injuries, including the senior duo Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic.
In an effort, coach Graham Arnold returned to the page after seven days in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus last week, but was abandoned. ia.
“It’s very painful that we didn’t get the result we wanted,” said Arnold, who has been under pressure from Australian fans.
Australia now need to focus on competing for the World Cup on the competitive track for the second straight time.
“But at the end of the day we got third place and you have to think about that. We have to move forward. I always said I believe in these boys one game at a time. . ”
In Asia, Spurs star Son Heung-min of South Korea scored at half-time in a 2-0 home win over Iran.
Both teams first graduated from group A.
The strong Japanese got off to a strong start with Liverpool star Takumi Minamino testing Socceroos keeper Mat Ryan in the first minute.
Conditions were tough in the rain and it took Australia 11 minutes to make their first shot, with a midfielder struggling to press and work the times.
Although Japan held the time, Australia got the ball in the net in the 25th minute, freeing Minamino from a Martin Boyle corner, but was ruled out for a foul.
Minamino was everywhere, holding the post with his head and hitting the crossbar minutes after the time for visitors increased.
Australia both came close to the start of the second half but were quickly exhausted as Japan regained control and continued to claim victory.
Minamino came close again with 11 minutes left and the head was seen pulling ahead of the last heroics from Mitoma to his grave.