Road to Qatar: how Japan qualified for World Cup 2022

We look at how the Samurai Blue sealed their place at the finals

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Japan booked their place at the Qatar World Cup with a game to spare following a dramatic victory in Australia.

Two last-gasp goals from substitute Kaoru Mitoma in Sydney sparked wild celebrations from the visitors, who would end up second in their qualifying group behind Saudi Arabia. The Japanese have now reached seven World Cup finals in a row since 1998.

“I knew it was going to be a close match so when I was on the bench all I was thinking was, when I got on the field of play I just had to do my job and score a goal,” said Mitoma after the match.

“I feel really happy for the players and people back in Japan, and everyone who is a Japanese fan.”

In Qatar, Japan were drawn in Group E alongside Spain, Costa Rica and Germany.

Japan's fixtures in Qatar

November 23 Germany v Japan – Khalifa International Stadium (5pm)

November 27 Japan v Costa Rica – Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium (2pm)

December 1 Japan v Spain – Khalifa International Stadium (11pm)

Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu celebrates after his team qualfied for the Qatar World Cup. AP

Qualifying results

Second round (Group F)

September 10, 2019 Myanmar 0 Japan 2 (Nakajima 16', Minamino 26')

October 10, 2019 Japan 6 (Minamino 22', Yoshida 29', Nagatomo 33', Nagai 40', Endo 57', Kamada 82') Mongolia 0

October 15, 2019 Tajikstan 0 Japan 3 (Minamino 53', 55', Asano 82')

November 14, 2019 Kyrgyzstan 0 Japan 2 (Minamino pen 41', Haraguchi 54')

March 30, 2021 Mongolia 0 Japan 14 (Minamino 13', Osako 23', 55', 90+2', Kamada 26', Morita 33', Tuya og 39', Inagaki 68', 90+3', Ito 73', 79', Furuhashi 78', 87', Asano 90+1')

May 28, 2021 Japan 10 Minamino 8', 66', Osako 22', pen 30', 36', 49', 88', Morita 57', Kamada 84', Itakura 90+1') Myanmar 0

June 7, 2021 Japan 4 (Furuhashi 6', Minamino 40', Hashimoto 51', Kawabe 71') Tajikstan 1

June 15, 2021 Japan 5 (Onaiwu pen 27', 31', 33', Sasaki 72', Asano 77') Kyrgyzstan 1 (Murzaev pen 45+2')

Junya Ito, right, celebrates with teammate Daizen Maeda after scoring in the World Cup qualifier against China. Getty

Third round (Group B)

September 2, 2021 Japan 0 Oman 1 (Al-Sabhi 88')

September 7, 2021 China 0 Japan 1 (Osako 40')

October 7, 2021 Saudi Arabia 1 (Al-Buraikan 71') Japan 0

October 12, 2021 Japan 2 (Tanaka 8', Behich og 85') Australia 1 (Hrustic 70')

November 11, 2021 Vietnam 0 Japan 1 (Ito 17')

November 16, 2021 Oman 0 Japan 1 (Ito 81')

January 27, 2022 Japan 2 (Osako pen 13', Ito 61') China 0

February 1, 2022 Japan 2 (Minamino 32', Ito 50') Saudi Arabia 0

March 24, 2022 Australia 0 Japan 2 (Mitoma 89', 90+4')

March 29, 2022 Japan 1 (Yoshida 55') Vietnam 1 (Nguynn Thanh Bình 19')

Updated: September 28, 2022, 8:44 AM
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