Japan become first nation to qualify for the 2014 World Cup

Keisuke Honda scores last minute penalty against Australia to secure point and qualification for tournament in Brazil

A dramatic last-minute penalty ensured Japan became the first team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup as they snatched a 1-1 draw with Australia at the Saitama Stadium.

Alberto Zaccheroni's men knew a draw would be enough to secure a place in Brazil next summer, but that looked unlikely when Tommy Oar fired the Socceroos ahead eight minutes from time.

However, Keisuke Honda held his nerve to convert from the spot in the dying seconds to give Japan safe passage through from Asian qualifying Group B.

In an entertaining first half, Yasuhito Endo directed an early free-kick inches wide of the left post before blazing over the bar with his left foot 10 minutes later.

Japan continued to press and Shinji Kagawa forced a one-handed save from Mark Schwarzer at close range before the visiting defence managed to clear the danger.

Australia then found some momentum and produced the best chance of the half soon after when a superb through-ball from Brett Holman teed up Robbie Kruse one-on-one with Japan's goalkeeper.

However, Eiji Kawashima came out on top of that duel before Tim Cahill blazed the rebound over the bar.

Japan threatened again eight minutes after the interval as Kagawa played across a ball across the box which looped over the head of Schwarzer and to the feet of Honda, who poked a shot wide of the right post from two yards out.

Kagawa came even closer moments later, curling an effort from the left side of the area which clipped the crossbar on its way out.

Japan continued to create all the openings but with little reward and they were punished eight minutes from time by Oar's somewhat fortuitous goal, with the midfielder's angled cross-shot dipping over the head of Kawashima and dropping into the net at the far post.

However, luck was on their side in the final minute of the match when Matt McKay handled the ball in the area. The pressure of a watching nation was on Honda, but he slammed home to spark celebrations.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent