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Japan VS Australia Final – LIVE Reddit Soccer 12/10/2021

Japan VS Australia Final – LIVE Reddit Soccer 12/10/2021

The Socceroos face their toughest battle in World Cup qualifying as they take on regional nemesis Japan on the road in a blockbuster on Tuesday night (AEDT). A win against the Blue Samurai at their famous Saitama Stadium will have Graham Arnold’s side almost able to taste qualifcation for Qatar 2022. The green and gold have won a world record 11 straight World Cup qualifiers and will face a Japan team that’s lost two of their past three matches. Australia will head to Tokyo full of confidence after an impressive 3-1 win against Oman in Qatar, a team that beat Japan 1-0 at the Saitama Stadium in September.

All the pressure will be on Japan, who lost their most recent match 1-0 to Saudi Arabia, and they already sit six points behind group leaders Australia and the Saudis after three matches. The Socceroos have never beaten Japan on home soil and haven’t tasted success against the Blue Samurai since 2009. Australia have no fear about playing on the road with 10 of their 11 consecutive wins coming on the road, with the team not able to play at home due to COVID-19 regulations.


 

Few countries across the globe take World Cup Qualifiers as seriously as Japan and having been a baseball nation for much of their history, the domestic growth of football has lead to a sharp rise in the popularity of their national team.

Japan’s love affair with international football can be traced back to the 1998 World Cup held in France, that saw Samurai Blue qualify to the finals for the first time in their history.

Whilst they may have lost each and every group stage game, including a humiliating defeat against fellow first-timers Jamaica, it was the way in which they gained qualification that endeared the island nation to world football’s most prestigious competition.

A Masayuki Okano golden goal two minutes from the end of extra time sent Japan on their maiden World Cup voyage and started what has since developed into a run of six consecutive finals, including the ill-fated 1998 edition.

However, their affection to the World Cup has never been more apparent than the four-week period between May and June 2002, where Japan alongside South Korea became the first non-European or South American hosts.

A festival of Asian-inspired football delight provided the globe with one of the most memorable World Cups in recent memory, made all the better by Japan qualifying for the knockouts, where they were beaten in the round of 16 by eventual semi-finalists Turkey.

They may have been outshone by their co-hosts South Korea, who made it to the last four, yet their exploits at the 2002 World Cup remain Japan’s joint best-ever performance at a finals, only matched by their results during the 2010 and 2018 tournaments.

In the first World Cup after hosting in 2006, there may have been a newfound pressure placed on the shoulders of an expectant footballing nation, yet they were unable to deliver, beaten to the qualification spots by record champions Brazil and none other than future rivals Australia.

Many supporters of Japan and Australia cite their clash at the 2006 World Cup as the catalyst for a rivalry that has seen many intense matchups since.

Whilst they may have played each other over 10 times before the 2006 World Cup, it was the first meeting between the pair since Australia ditched the Oceania Football Confederation, in favour of the AFC for the second time in their history.

Jumping ship in search of regular competitive matches, Australia returned to the world stage for the first time since 1974 in emphatic fashion, with their 3-1 victory over Japan in the group stage crucial to them finishing as runners-up.

Immediately knocked out by eventual winners Italy in the round of 16, Australia may have failed to leave a lasting impression on the 2006 World Cup knockout stages, yet they did travel home from Germany with a footballing rivalry bigger than anything they had tasted before.

The pair continued to meet in some of the biggest international clashes Asia has ever seen, including a year later when Japan avenged their World Cup defeat in the quarter-final of the Asian Cup, seeing off Australia on penalties.

A string of qualification ties followed, with both sides enjoying their own spells of superiority and the latest edition in one of international football’s more bizarre derbies could go a long way to deciding who will be competing in the 2022 World Cup next winter.

Australia look to be in an unassailable position at the top of Group B, whilst fellow World Cup regulars Japan are languishing in third, having won one of their opening three matches in the third round of Asian qualifying.

Surprising losers to Oman in the opening match of round three, Japan bounced back with a slender 1-0 victory over China, before once again falling short, this time against Saudi Arabia in the first match of this current international break.

Hajime Moriyasu’s side now face a desperate challenge to secure even a playoff spot in Group B, with the likes of Oman and China level on points with the Samurai Blue, making Tuesday’s fixture against Australia close to a must-win.

Japan may be able to take a crumb of comfort from the fact they are unbeaten in seven matches against the Socceroos, whose last victory against them came during a 2-1 triumph at the MCG all the way back in 2009.

Winless in over a decade against their opponents, Australia’s hopes of making it 12 points from 12 look slim when comparing head-to-head records, not least because they have never won a match on Japanese soil in their history.

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