Japan beats Australia to book World Cup spot

Kaoru Mitoma of Japan scores his second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 AFC Asian Qualifying match between the Australia Socceroos and Japan at Accor Stadium on March 24, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.

Japan defeated Australia in a dramatic fashion to book their place in this year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar which 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.

The winger breached the opposition goal in the 89th minute of the game before sealing the result with another goal in the 4th minute of added time.

It was just a reward with Japan the busier of the two sides in trying to create clear openings. The 20 shots on goal to 9 clearly highlight the disparity in intent shown by the two sides. But with each passing minute, it seemed Australia may sneak away with a draw.

Their hopes were dashed by the Union SG’s (on loan from Brighton) Mitoma who sent his team into raptures with his late brace.

The victory lifted Japan 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.

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