Originally written on Fox Soccer  |  Last updated 10/22/14
A dramatic last-minute penalty ensured Japan became the first team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup as they snatched a 1-1 draw with Australia at the Saitama Stadium. Alberto Zaccheroni's men knew a draw would be enough to secure a place in Brazil next summer, but that looked unlikely when Tommy Oar fired the Socceroos ahead eight minutes from time. However, Keisuke Honda held his nerve to convert from the spot in the dying seconds to give Japan safe passage through from Asian qualifying Group B. In an entertaining first half, Yasuhito Endo directed an early free-kick inches wide of the left post before blazing over the bar with his left foot 10 minutes later. Japan continued to press and Shinji Kagawa forced a one-handed save from Mark Schwarzer at close range before the visiting defence managed to clear the danger. Australia then found some momentum and produced the best chance of the half soon after when a superb through-ball from Brett Holman teed up Robbie Kruse one-on-on...
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