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Last Updated Wednesday June 20 2018 01:14 PM IST

Japan beat Australia 2-0 to book World Cup berth

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Ideguchi Yosuke, Yuto Nagatomo Japan's Ideguchi Yosuke (L) celebrates his goal with teammate Yuto Nagatomo during a World Cup 2018 qualifier match against Australia on Thursday. Reuters

Tokyo: Japan booked their place in the 2018 World Cup with an emphatic 2-0 win over Australia in Saitama on Thursday that took their Asian arch-rivals' hopes of qualifying for Russia out of their hands.

Takuma Osano scored late in the first half before 21-year-old midfielder Yosuke Ideguchi covered himself in glory with a sumptuous finish in the 82nd minute as the Samurai Blue sealed a sixth straight appearance in the global showpiece.

Japan are now assured of finishing top of Group B in Asian qualifying before their final match away to second-placed Saudi Arabia, a match that Australia will watch nervously.

Third-placed Australia will need a handsome victory over Thailand in their final qualifier and hope Japan can beat or draw with the Saudis, who have a better goal difference than the Socceroos.

Japan join Iran, Brazil and hosts Russia in the 32-team tournament, which will be held from June 14 to July 15 next year.

Read more: Sports | Football | Six U-23 players in Indian squad for Macau game

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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