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Maya Yoshida headed in an injury-time goal to get Japan’s bid to qualify for a fifth successive World Cup off to a winning start with a 1-0 victory on Friday night.

Alberto Zaccheroni’s side went into the qualifying competition hotly tipped to claim a place at Brazil 2014 after winning the Asian Cup for a record fourth time in January, but North Korea looked to have thrown a wrench in the works with a miserly defensive performance amid typhoon conditions at Saitama Stadium.

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