(Sporting Alert) — Japan became the first team to book its place into next World Cup finals in Brazil after playing to a 1-1 draw with Australia at Saitama Stadium on Tuesday.
Video Highlights: Honda Scores For Japan v Australia
Needing a tie or a win to secure its place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament, Japan went a goal behind in the 82nd minute when Tommy Oar scored to give the Australians a 1-0 lead.
However, Japan got the priceless equalizer on the 90th minute when Keisuke Honda scored from the penalty spot.
A cross from the left hand side bounced off the shoulder of Matthew McKay and appeared to have hit his hand inside the 18 yard box which, which gifted Japan the opportunity to grab the needed goal and Honda made no mistake.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni had expressed faith in his players and said he knew they would bounce back after a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria in a warmup game last week.
The Japan team included Manchester Uited attacker Shinji Kagawa, who had a solid opening season with the English Premier League champions.
2014 FIFA WORLD CUP
Asian final-round qualifiers
Goals—Tommy OAR (81) for Australia. HONDA Keisuke (90+1, pen.) for Japan.