Football: Japan reach their first finals

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The Independent Online
Masayuki Okano scored a sudden-death goal with a minute of extra time to go yesterday to give Japan a 3-2 win over Iran in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and send his team through to their first World Cup finals. The result consigned Iran to a two-leg play-off against the Oceania winners, Terry Venables' Australia side.

Okano, who came on as a substitute, pounced as the Iran goalkeeper spilled a shot. Japan, who will co-host the 2002 finals, had gone ahead with a drive from Masashi Nakayama. Iran hit two goals in 13 minutes after the break, from Khodadad Azizi and Ali Daei, but lifted by their army of fans, Japan equalised through Shoji Jo in the 75th minute.

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