Australia and Japan tied 1-1 yesterday in Asia’s final group qualifying stage for the 2014 World Cup, while South Korea beat Lebanon 3-0.
Yuzo Kurihara put Japan ahead after 65 minutes in the matchup of Asia’s two highest-ranked teams at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, with Luke Wilkshire replying five minutes later as Australia was awarded a penalty kick.
Both teams finished the game with 10 men, Mark Milligan and Kurihara dismissed after receiving their second yellow cards.
Asian champion Japan tops Group B with seven points as it seeks for a fifth straight appearance at soccer’s four-yearly championship. Iraq, Australia and Oman all have two points, with Jordan on one. South Korea heads Group A with six points, two ahead of Iran and Qatar. Uzbekistan and Lebanon have one point each.
Iraq tied 1-1 against Oman yesterday, and the match between Iran and Qatar was scoreless.
Asia’s 10 remaining teams have a yearlong phase of home- and-away games, with the winners and runners-up from each group taking the region’s four direct berths at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The third-place teams will playoff for the right to take on South America’s fifth-ranked nation for another spot.
The next round of matches is scheduled for Sept. 11.
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