Sports, Football

Japan revive WC hopes, S Korea frustrated by Iran

Published : 13 Oct 2021 07:59 PM | Updated : 14 Oct 2021 09:38 AM

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu urged his side to build on the 2-1 win over Australia that jolted their World Cup qualifying campaign into life as Son Heung-min scored in South Korea's 1-1 draw with Iran on Tuesday.

Japan went into the crunch home match having lost two of their opening three games in Group B, but took three crucial points thanks to an 85th-minute own goal from Australia's Aziz Behich.

Japan still trail Australia and Saudi Arabia in the battle for the group's two automatic spots for Qatar 2022, but the win blew Group B wide open and ended the visitors' record of 11 straight victories in one World Cup qualifying campaign.

Group A is tight though after Tottenham star Son Heung-min scored for South Korea before they conceded with 14 minutes remaining against Iran.

Embattled Japan boss Moriyasu said: "We kept fighting until the end and never gave up. We are determined to get to the World Cup and we showed that tonight.

"It was a great win but we still have a lot of tough games to come. We have to make sure we use this win and build on it."

Japanese media had speculated that Moriyasu could lose his job unless his side beat in-form Australia, and the manager made a special point of applauding fans after the final whistle in Saitama.

"It was a very difficult game, but the fact that the players kept going to the end was down to the support they got from the crowd," he said.

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