Kuala Lumpur Post


Japan into Asian Cup last 16 as Iraq win five-goal thriller

DOHA — Japan cruised into the Asian Cup last 16 on Wednesday and a possible date with South Korea, as already qualified Iraq came out on top in a five-goal thriller.

Ayase Ueda struck in each half to go with a late Indonesia own goal as pre-tournament favourites Japan won 3-1 to finish runners-up in Group D behind Iraq.

Japan will now face the winners of Group E – South Korea’s group.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s South Korea are currently second on goal difference behind Jordan and face Malaysia in their final group match on Thursday.

Iran are lurking as possible quarter-final opponents for Japan and coach Hajime Moriyasu said they were primed for the best the rest could throw at them.

“Iran and South Korea are top-level teams in Asia and both very strong. They both have their own style that is different from ours and we respect them,” he said.

“It is a step-up in quality as we move into the race for the title.”

Moriyasu made eight changes to his starting line-up from the shock 2-1 defeat by Iraq, bringing in an entirely new defence.

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