Japan finished their World Cup 2014 qualification campaign on a high with a last minute winner against Iraq at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha. It was VFB Stuttgart midfielder Shinji Okazaki who grabbed the only goal of the game after the Iraqis had been reduced to ten men due to the sending off of Ala’a Abdul Zahra for a second bookable offence in the 82nd minute.
The result means that Alberto Zaccheroni’s men finish with seventeen points from their eight Group B matches and a record of five wins, two draws and one defeat. Iraq still have one match to play away at Australia but they cannot now qualify for the finals as they are four points behind the third place that earns a play-off spot. The team line-ups were as follows:
Iraq: Noor Sabri, Ali Rehema, Ahmad Ibrahim Khalaf, Dhurgham Ismail, Ali Adnan, Ateeh Saad (Karrar Jassim 85), Saif Salman, Younis Mahmoud, Ala’a Abdul Zahra, Hammadi Ahmad (Ali Bahjat 79), Waleed Salim
Japan: Kawashima, Konno, Inoha (Takahashi 90+4), Nagatomo, Sakai, Endō, Hosogai, Okazaki, Kiyotake (Nakamura 67), Havenaar (Maeda 70), Kagawa