Australia vs. Japan  1 - 1

Article

Japan effort satisfies Zaccheroni

12 June 2012 18:04

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni praised his team for their performance after securing a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Australia in Brisbane.

Zaccheroni's team took the lead thanks to Yuzo Kurihara's close-range goal in the Asian Football Confederation qualifying match for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The visitors surrendered the equaliser just three minutes later following a questionable penalty kick awarded to the hosts, which was converted by Luke Wilkshire.

Australia were already down to 10 men after Mark Milligan had received his marching orders for a second bookable offence on Astuto Uchida, but the Italian coach was pleased with his side's performance.

"Australia played to win and fought with their physicality, experience, and cunning," Zaccheroni said.

"But we didn't let ourselves be defeated by that and fought back just as hard.

"We had a difficult start but we overcame that and gained control of the match. For an away game Japan played magnificently."

Playmaker Keisuke Honda crossed for Kurihara's goal and despite failing to score in a third successive World Cup qualifier, he was satisfied with the result.

"Of course we wanted to win, but a 1-1 away result isn't bad at all," the CSKA Moscow attacker said.

"All we can do is take it as a good result and think ahead to the next match."

Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima, who prevented several Socceroo goals with superb saves throughout the match, praised his team-mates for standing up to their physical opponents.

"We knew that they would attack with long balls and crosses, but each one of us put our bodies on the line and stopped them," the 29-year-old said.

Japan continue to lead Group B of AFC qualifying with seven points from three games, while Australia have just two points from two matches.

The teams are next in action on September 11, when Japan host Iraq and Australia travel to Jordan.

Article

Osieck delighted with Australia´s courage

12 June 2012 16:29

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck praised his men following their 1-1 draw with Japan in Asian World Cup qualifying at Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday.

Australia were reduced to 10 men in the 55th minute of the match in Brisbane when Matt Milligan was controversially shown his second yellow card.

And their task became harder still when Atsuto Uchida put the visitors ahead 1-0 ten minutes later.

But the Socceroos held on to take a point after Luke Wilkshire converted a penalty in the 70th minute.

German Osieck, who took over as Socceroos coach in August 2010, was impressed with his team's resilience in fighting back to earn a draw.

"What our team delivered tonight was unbelievable," he said.

"It's hard to describe how they did that, how they managed to fight their way through adversity."

Japan went into the match as slight favourites to take all three points, but were met by a combative Australian outfit, which used its strength and physicality to steal the early ascendency.

Osieck said the performance would make future opponents of the Socceroos take notice.

"Before the match we knew that both teams had respect for each other and we demonstrated very clearly that we can do the job with this group," he said.

"We sent a message not only to Japan but to the other teams as well."

Osieck's pre-match strategy suffered a blow when creative midfielder Mark Bresciano was forced from the field with a hip injury in the 13th minute.

When his replacement Milligan was dismissed, Osieck thought Australia's chances of victory went with him.

"The early substitution had a negative impact and limited the opportunity to make attacking and tactical changes in the second half," he said.

"One man less was another blow as the Japanese midfielders moved the ball well and really tested our resistance.

"We are very happy that our fighting spirit was rewarded."

Osieck was damning in his assessment of referee Khalil Al Ghamdi's decision to show Milligan his second yellow for what the official deemed to be high contact.

"I was of the opinion at the moment it happened that it was definitely not a foul and I got confirmation when I saw the replay," he said.

"Milligan tried to kick the ball and he couldn't see (Uchida) coming from the back, it was definitely no foul because he didn't touch Uchida at all.

"I don't know about the referee's position but from my position it didn't look like dangerous play."

Osieck said he was impressed with the way Tim Cahill and Alex Brosque worked together in attack for the Socceroos.

"They were a very efficient pair up-front, in particular Alex, what he brought to the team was exceptional.

"It was the first time they played together - down the road I am happy to have another alternative for the position up front."

Article

Socceroos out for revenge

11 June 2012 09:12

Australia defender Sasa Ognenovski admits his side are using the 2011 Asian Cup final loss to Japan as motivation ahead of Tuesday's clash.

Ognenovski was part of the Australia side which lost 1-0 in extra-time to the Japanese in Doha almost 18 months ago.

Speaking ahead of the AFC World Cup qualifying clash between the teams, he told reporters Australia would draw on that loss as motivation.

"For the ones who played that night there's a motivating factor there," said Ognenovski, who plays his club football in South Korea.

"We felt we probably should have won that and hopefully we can get the result on Tuesday.

"We've just got to make sure that, like in that game, that we play well and that we do the things that we're meant to do right."

The 2010 AFC Player of the Year, who admitted the Socceroos were tired after the long trip home following Friday's 0-0 draw in Oman, said he hoped a parochial home crowd could help the Australians to victory in Brisbane.

"Obviously playing in front of your home crowd is a big difference, especially when it gets tough. They can lift your spirits and the team as well," Ognenovski said.

"Playing in front of a big crowd in this nice stadium can make a big difference.

"If you can win all your home games and grab a draw here and there in your away games, I think you're pretty set (to qualify)."

However, Ognenovski conceded he felt Japan had enjoyed the better fixture, having played their opening two games at home, recording 3-0 and 6-0 wins over Oman and Jordan respectively.

"They haven't had to travel (so far), which has been a nice draw for them, but we'll do our best and try and minimise their damage," he said.

Article

Brisbane to host Australia-Japan clash

14 March 2012 06:43

Australia will face Japan in their first home match of the final stage of their 2014 World Cup qualifying, it was announced on Sunday.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) have announced the Socceroos will host fierce rival Japan at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium in June.

Having successfully negotiated the first stage of AFC qualification to the 2014 event in Brazil, the Socceroos were drawn in a group that includes Japan, Jordan, Iraq and Oman last Friday.

Australia open the year-long qualification phase, which will see them play eight matches, with an away clash to Oman on June 8, before playing Japan on home soil on June 12, in a replay of last year's AFC Asian Cup final, which Japan won 1-0 through a dramatic late winner.

When qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the Socceroos played the first home match during the second phase of Asian qualification in Brisbane against Qatar, in a famous 4-0 result.

And Socceroos coach Holger Osieck is hopeful history will repeat itself.

"Brisbane is an excellent venue and provides us a great atmosphere and environment for the next phase of our campaign," Osieck said in a media release on Wednesday.

"We have very good memories from the start of our last stage of qualifiers and we hope to duplicate that result on 12 June."

"I'm expecting a sell-out crowd to see two of the top nations in Asia compete for a place at the FIFA World Cup."

Under AFC regulations against sponsorship that contravenes the organisation's own sponsors, Suncorp Stadium will be renamed Brisbane Stadium for the encounter.

Regardless of the name, FFA chief executive Ben Buckley believes the Queensland public will boost the Socceroos' chances by turning the venue into a cauldron of support for the Australians.

"The Socceroos v Japan at Suncorp Stadium will be an absolutely epic contest on the road to Brazil," Buckley said.

"This will be a very early test for the Socceroos against the Asian champions and the outcome will shape the group, but we all know our players thrive on these challenges."