Saitma

Soccer: Zaccheroni's Japan first to qualify for World Cup

Italian coach's side seal place with 1-1 draw with Australia

Soccer: Zaccheroni's Japan first to qualify for World Cup

Saitma, June 4 - Alberto Zaccheroni's Japan became the first team to qualify for the 2013 World Cup on Tuesday. A 1-1 draw with Australia in Saitama was enough to ensure that the Italian coach's side finish in the top two of Asian qualifying Group B and book their place for next year's tournament in Brazil with a game to spare. Blue Samurai playmaker Keisuke Honda leveled the score with a penalty in stoppage time, after Tommy Oar had put Australia ahead with a lucky shot-cross. Japan are Asian champions after winning their fourth continental title in 2011 under former AC Milan, Inter, Lazio and Juventus boss Zaccheroni.

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