Yoshida Helps Japan Book Brazil Ticket

By SFC Media time Tue 04 Jun Club

Maya Yoshida played the full game as Japan played out a 1-1 draw with Australia earlier today to confirm their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.

The Saints defender went close with a 13th-minute header and made a number of vital blocks before the Socceroos went ahead through Tommy Oar with eight minutes left to play in Saitama.

But an injury-time penalty from Keisuke Honda earned the Samurai Blue the point they needed to become the first non-host nation to qualify for next summer's finals in Brazil.

Japan play their final Asian qualifying fixture next Tuesday when they face Iraq at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

The squad selected for that game by head coach Alberto Zaccheroni will also travel to the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, which kicks off in Brazil on 15th June.

If Maya is selected in Zaccheroni's party to travel to South America, he will be away until at least 22nd June.

Japan have been placed in Group A of the Confederations Cup group stage, with their schedule as follows:

Saturday 15th June, 8pm BST kick off

Brazil vs Japan – Estádio Nacional, Brasília

Wednesday 19th June, 11pm BST kick off

Italy vs Japan – Arena Pernambuco, Recife

Saturday 22nd June, 8pm BST kick off

Japan vs Mexico, Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte

If the Samurai Blue finish in the top two of their group, they will progress to a semi-final on either Wednesday 26th or Thursday 27th June before a potential final or third-placed play-off on Sunday 30th June.

Forever Saint award: Kelvin Davis
Club

Forever Saint award: Kelvin Davis

Award presented to the club's long-term servant.

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