Takeshi Okada's Japan claimed a World Cup spot with 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan.
The Blue Samurai opened the scoring nine minutes in when Shimizu S-Pulse striker Shinji Okazaki’s got on the end of Kengo Nakamura through ball and after his initial attempt was saved he managed to head the rebound in. With the exception of the early goal, Japan displayed a masterful plan that nullified Uzbeks dangerous attacker Server Djeparov (FC Bunyodkor) and rarely allowed a legitimate effort towards 'keeper Seigo Narazaki until late. Finally in the last stages of the match the Uzbeks started to apply pressure but efforts by Djeparov and Islom Tuhtahujaev (Neftchi Farg'ona) were unable to find the net.
Following the match the manager said:
“It was a tough game, as we had expected, and our players fought hard until the very end of the game. They showed their mental toughness when our opponents wouldn’t let us play our brand of football. This is just the start for us. I’m grateful that we have got this opportunity.”