Maya Yoshida’s Japan secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the United Arab Emirates on Monday morning.
The Samurai Blue had Takehiro Tomiyasu to thank, the defender converting Goku Shibasaki’s corner with his head after 20 minutes in one of the game’s few clear-cut chances.
Saudi Arabia pushed forward and sought a response, but the closest they came to equalising was half-time when Hatan Bahbri’s curling flew narrowly past the post.
The Japan defence - marshalled by Yoshida who featured for the full 90 minutes once more for his country - held firm in the second period limiting Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side to a handful of half chances from set-pieces.
The four-time winners will now go on to face Vietnam in the first quarter-final on Thursday 24 January at 1pm GMT.
The likes of Australia, Uzbekistan, UAE, Kyrgyzstan, South Korea, Bahrain, Qatar and Iraq will look to join them over the course of Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.