Australia1-2 Japan: Australia suffer late loss in World Cup qualifying 2022

Japan vs Australia
Images Via AP

Australia’s full record of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers ended with a 2-1 defeat by Japan on Tuesday.

The Socceroos had won all 11 games en route to Qatar – making history in the process – and each of their last 12 matches returns to the final campaign.

But Ao Tanaka’s first strike in Saitama and his goal by Aziz Behich, or any other team of Ajdin Hrustic, made the first competitive defeat in Australia since January 2019.

Graham Arnold’s side can now see a top spot in Group B leaving Saudi Arabia, who will play later on Thursday. Only the top two teams will automatically qualify for the World Cup.

Japan entered the match undefeated in seven meetings with Australia and was ahead less than eight minutes later when Tanaka hit the ball low in the lower-left corner.

Australia came close to equalizing just before half as Adam Taggart’s ball was thrown straight into the net and Aaron Mooy’s effort was blocked in front of the goal.

The visitors were then punished as officials felt that Hidemasa Morita’s challenge to Hustustic was out of the box, but the wrong player made Japan pay as his powerful kick-kick hit the bottom of the post.

But it was Japan that snatched the winner five minutes from time.

Matt Ryan could only look at Takuma Asano’s shotgun in the air and Behich, in an attempt to clear the ball from under the cross, turned it over in his net.

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