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Japan 2-1 Australia: Socceroos’ record winning run comes to an end

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The
Socceroos
had
won
all
11
games
on
the
road
to
Qatar

setting
a
record
in
the
process

and
each
of
their
last
12
games
stretching
back
into
the
last
campaign.

But
Ao
Tanaka’s
early
strike
in
Saitama
and
a
late
own
goal
from
Aziz
Behich,
either
side
of
Ajdin
Hrustic’s
leveller,
inflicted
a
first
competitive
defeat
on
Australia
since
January
2019.

Graham
Arnold’s
side
could
now
see
top
spot
in
Group
B
relinquished
to
Saudi
Arabia,
who
play
later
on
Thursday.
Only
the
top
two
sides
will
qualify
automatically
for
the
World
Cup.

Japan
entered
the
game
unbeaten
in
seven
meetings
with
Australia
and
they
were
ahead
inside
eight
minutes
when
Tanaka
drilled
a
low
shot
into
the
bottom-left
corner.

Australia
went
close
to
equalising
before
half-time
as
Adam
Taggart’s
shot
was
tipped
onto
the
upright
and
Aaron
Mooy’s
effort
was
blocked
in
front
of
goal
from
the
follow-up.

The
visitors
then
had
a
penalty
overturned
as
the
officials
felt
Hidemasa
Morita’s
challenge
on
Hrustic
was
outside
the
box,
but
the
fouled
player
still
made
Japan
pay
as
his
powerful
free-kick
crashed
in
off
the
underside
off
the
crossbar.

But
it
was
Japan
who
snatched
a
winner
with
five
minutes
remaining.

Mat
Ryan
could
only
parry
substitute
Takuma
Asano’s
deflected
shot
into
the
air
and
Behich,
in
an
attempt
to
clear
the
ball
from
under
the
crossbar,
turned
it
into
his
own
net.

Meanwhile,
despite
the
majority
of
the
country
being
in
favor
of
boycotting
Qatar
2022,
DFB
vice
president
Peter
Peters
says
Germany
will
take
part,
citing
“progress”
made.
“I’ve
no
reason
to
doubt
the
Qataris,”
he
said.

Werner
brace
helps
secure
World
Cup
spot
for
Die
Mannschaft

Germany
had
become
the
first
national
team
to
qualify
for
the
FIFA
2022
World
Cup
in
Qatar
after
beating
North
Macedonia
4-0
in
Skopje
on
Monday.

Earlier
that
day,
the
German
football
association
(DFB)
published
an
interview
on
its
website
with
vice
president
Peter
Peters,
in
which
he
was
asked
about
the
possibility
of
Germany
boycotting
the
tournament
in
Qatar
due
to
the
country’s
human
rights
record.

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