Japan have become the first team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup after they got the point they needed against Australia.

Keisuke Honda’s late penalty ruled out Tommy Oar’s goal eight minutes from time as the game finished 1-1 in Saitama.

It means Japan are the first team to guarantee their place in the World Cup, apart from Brazil who qualify automatically as hosts.

Japan were the stronger of the two teams early on with Manchester United star Shinji Kagawa forcing Mark Schwarzer into a save. Yasuhito Endo also went close twice for the hosts.

It was Australia that took the lead though and looked to break home fan’s hearts as Oar’s cross-shot deceived Eiji Kawashima in the Japan goal with 82 minutes on the clock.

Japan were rescued when Matt McKay handballed inside the penalty area and CSKA Moscow midfielder Honda sent the home support wild.

Australia can still qualify for next summer’s tournament automatically but they will need to beat Jordan and Iraq in the next two weeks.


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