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Wednesday, 10th June 2009
In Sports,

Japan draw with Qatar in World Cup qualifier

The Qatari football team's hopes of playing in the World Cup finals in South Africa came to an end with a 1-1 draw in Yokohama today, exactly a year before the tournament kicks off.

Japan went ahead after an early own goal by Ahmed Ali Albinali and while Qatar equalised with a penalty in the second half, they failed to score a winning goal.

Japan's spot in the 2010 World Cup is already secured, but the team's performance showed room for improvement.

According to Reuters, midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura said the players "wasted a lot of energy" and have "a lot of areas to improve on".

Coach Takeshi Okada added that he failed to utilise his players correctly.

Okada was unable to use midfielder Makoto Hasebe, who received a red card and two-match suspension in Japan's win over Uzbekistan last week.

The coach's protests over the incident led to him being slapped with a one-match touchline ban, so he watched today's game from the stands.

Written by Graham McPherson

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