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Australia Finishes Off Impressive Qualifying Campaign

  • Reuters, Wednesday, June 17, 2009 2:45 PM
Australia came from behind to beat Japan 2-1 with a second-half double from Tim Cahill on Wednesday to finish top of Asian World Cup qualifying Group One. Both countries had already reached the 2010 finals in South Africa with their last qualifier deciding who would take the plaudits in the group.

Cahill struck just before the hour and in the 77th minute after Japan's Brazilian-born defender Tulio ended Australia's seven-game streak of shutouts with a header in the 40th. The result left Australia on top of the group with 20 points, five more than Japan. The Aussies conceded only one goal in eight matches, unbeaten in the final round of qualifying.

"I think it's a great statement to the rest of Asia and probably the rest of the world that you can finish a campaign like this five points ahead," Australia coach Pim Verbeek told reporters. "We did not lose one game. We got one goal (against us). Can't have it all, but I think it's fantastic and I'm very proud of the players."

 

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