Australian late scores down Japan 3-1 in Group F

Monday, June 12, 2006

Australia's much awaited first match of the 2006 tournament ended in a 3-1 win over Japan in the opening game of Group F, Monday.

In what amounted to a dramatic last 10 minutes Guus Hiddink's side overturned Japan's single goal lead as the searing heat of the Fritz Walter Stadium, Kaiserslauten, made Australia's all-out-attack brand of football too hot to handle.

Fritz Walter Stadion, Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Australia had faced disciplined and organised Japanese defending for 84 minutes of the game. Captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto looked impressive while goalkeeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi made key saves against Australian captain Mark Viduka - including a double one in the first half.

The Socceroos might consider themselves unfortunate for the goal they conceded. It was disputed with questions of goalkeeper interference. In any event, on 25 minutes Mark Schwarzer failed to reach a cross looped in from the right; the ball sailed over his head and into the net.

The match had good passing, inventive plays; both sides played with three defenders and encouraged attacking football, with much of the play in and around the penalty areas. After second half substitutions, Australia ended the match with three forwards over six feet in height and this may have made the difference.

But had Japan scored from a number of good opportunities they made the Australian come back may not have been enough.

The equaliser on 84 minutes owed to similar element of luck or goalkeeping error as the first goal. The Japan keeper missed a throw from the left. The ball fell loose to midfielder Tim Cahill, close to the penalty spot. The substitute drove the ball low through the legs of players to score.

Then the Japanese may feel unfortunate - a minute later Tim Cahill appeared to up-end a Japanese player in his penalty box. No penalty was given; the score remained 1-1.

Zico, the Brazilian manager of the Japanese team who had been minutes from successfully guiding his team to a first game win, then watched as Tim Cahill on 89 minutes scored his second from the top of the semi-circle; with much deftness, he curled the ball in off the right post. Kawaguchi had no chance.

At this point the Japanese, in the 30-plus Celsius heat, seemed to be exhausted while the Australian substitutes were just warming up. Substitute John Aloisi used his pace to beat Yuichi Komano and put the ball in the bottom left corner for the third goal.

There were seven cautions in the game and a total of 33 fouls. However; it was Australia, who had more cautions and committed twice as many fouls as their opponents, whose extra aggression paid in the end.


Group F

June 12, 2006
  Australia 3–1   Japan Fritz Walter Stadion
Cahill 84' 88'
Aloisi 92'
Nakamura 26'

Attendance: 46'000

Referee: Essam Abd El Fatah


  • 01 M Schwarzer
  • 02 L Neill
  • 03 C Moore 58'  (Substituted: 61' J Kennedy)
  • 05 J Culina
  • 20 L Wilkshire (Substituted: 75' J Aloisi 78'  )
  • 07 B Emerton
  • 13 V Grella 33'  
  • 23 M Bresciano (Substituted: 53' T Cahill 69' )
  • 14 S Chipperfield
  • 10 H Kewell
  • 09 M Viduka


  • 23 Y Kawaguchi
  • 03 Y Komano
  • 05 T Miyamoto 31'  
  • 14 A Santos
  • 19 K Tsuboi (Substituted: 56' T Moniwa 68'   Substituted: 91' O Masashi)
  • 22 Y Nakazawa
  • 15 T Fukunishi
  • 07 H Nakata
  • 10 S Nakamura
  • 09 N Takahara 40'  
  • 13 A Yanagisawa (Substituted: 79' S Ono)


This article is about the 2006 World Cup; for more World Cup news visit the World Cup portal.