JA­PAN (43)

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPASTIMES -

JA­PAN be­came the first coun­try to qual­ify for next year's World Cup fi­nals in South Africa when they won 1-0 in Uzbek­istan.

Fans are now hop­ing that it will not be a case of: "First to come, first to leave" for Takeshi Okada's team.

But to progress be­yond the first round the team will have to make his­tory - be­com­ing the first Ja­panese team at the World Cup fi­nals to win a game away from home.

Ja­pan has played at three fi­nals and has won two of the 10 games with both vic­to­ries achieved at home dur­ing the 2002 fi­nals which they co-hosted with South Korea.

Ja­pan re­cently played out a 0-0 draw with South Africa but Okada be­lieves his team can make the semi-fi­nals next year.

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