Wednesday, 29th February 2012
In Japan Sports News, Sports,
Uzbekistan stun Japan to top World Cup qualification group
Japan have failed to finish top of their World Cup qualification group after losing 1-0 to Uzbekistan at the Toyota Stadium today (February 29th).
Japan needed a win on home turf to finish top of Group C, but despite dominating the first half they did not convert their chances and were punished in the 54th minute when Aleksandr Shadrin struck.
Both sides had already qualified for the final round of 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification ahead of this tie, with top place and a theoretically easier group draw all that was at stake before kick off.
Japan captain Makoto Hasebe said: "The fact we lost says it all," Reuters quoted.
"It's a tough pill to swallow but we have to put things right and step up a level in the final round of qualifying."
Uzbekistan's win meant they finished the group in first place with 16 points, ahead of Japan on ten.
The Asian champions' superior goal difference meat that a win by any margin would have been enough to see them leapfrog Uzbekistan, but it was not to be.
Written by Mark Smith