Japan blows chance

World Cup spot stays undecided after wasteful defeat to Jordan



Japan was left to count the cost of a second-half penalty miss by Yasuhito Endo as the Asian champions crashed to a controversial 2-1 away defeat to Jordan that ruined their chance of becoming the first team to qualify for the 2014 Brazil World Cup on Tuesday.

But the country’s association chief, Kuniya Daini, said after the match that he would be lodging a complaint with world soccer governing body FIFA, after both Endo and goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima had laser beams shone directly in their faces during a pulsating encounter at King Abdullah International Stadium.

“We will make a complaint,” Kuniya said.

Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni was also left seething after two Jordan players made provocative cut-throat gestures to the Italian coach at halftime and fulltime to suggest he would get the sack.

Zaccheroni took offense to Odai Alsaify and Jordan captain Amer Deeb both goading him as the match ended on an unsavory note for the Japanese, whose unbeaten record in the final round came to an end.

“I’m not the kind of coach that likes to be provoked and threatened,” Zaccheroni told the post-match news conference.

Endo admitted laser beams had been directed at him when he stepped up to take the penalty that would have leveled the game at 2-2 on 71 minutes, but was saved magnificently by Amer Sabbah. That miss came moments after Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa had pounced on a lobbed pass from Hiroshi Kiyotake to smash home from close range and put Japan back in the match.

“It wasn’t just the penalty, there were other times in the game too but it (the laser beam) didn’t really affect me,” Endo said. “I was focused and tried to place the ball where I wanted to put it, but the goalkeeper read it.”

Japan created a hatful of chances with Ryoichi Maeda twice going close in the first half, but Jordan, thrashed 6-0 in Saitama in June, broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time. Khalil Bani Ateyah beat marker Shinji Okazaki to head in Deeb’s corner and trigger delirious scenes among home fans.

Okazaki nearly forced an equalizer with a shot that Sabbah was equal to, but Ahmad Ibrahim ghosted past Maya Yoshida and kept his head to sweep in a superb second.

“We didn’t take our chances,” shrugged Okazaki. “We were doing well and my mistake led to us conceding the first goal. You are not going to win away unless you take your chances but it is not over yet and we just have to try and regroup for the next match.”

Australia’s 2-2 draw with Oman in Sydney in the only other match in the group earlier in the day meant Japan needed only a point to secure one of the two automatic berths in Group B and qualify for its fifth World Cup finals in a row.

Despite the defeat, Japan (13) is still six points clear at the top of the group ahead of Jordan with two games left. Australia, which has played one game less, and Oman are on six each and idle Iraq has five.

Zaccheroni also admitted that Japan’s lack of a cutting edge had cost it dear and he was disappointed that his players had not heeded his advice after they conceded from a set piece just the way they had in Friday’s 2-1 warmup win over Canada in Doha.

“We wanted to qualify for the World Cup (today) and it is a real shame and we are all disappointed but I can’t criticize Jordan. We paid the price for not taking our chances,” he said.

  • Japanese football players should not have to put up with beams because it is a little menacing when you consider what is happening throughout the Middle East. Japan will quality for the World Cup but the actions of some players from Jordan leaves a sour taste. On a positive note, the defeat will have hurt and this will create greater determination to carry on from the last world cup when the real tournament starts….

  • ahmadrid

    Jordan played very well ,, you have to admit and understand that ,, OK

    • DA

      Who? Gus Fielding? Well, YOU have to understand that Japan won the return fixture 6-0 so nothing but a win (or at least a draw) was expected. I see nothing wrong about this article.

  • Danny

    Japan could’ve won the match, but they wasted their chances way too much. Jordan had few, but took 2 well to lead. I hope Japan learned this painful lesson and improve on their finishing.
    Overall, disappointing, but what is with the laser? That is despicable! Those who do such things have no respect for the game.

  • Raed saqarat

    we would like to thank Zaccheroni !! for all his statements before the match , to state that this his team is going to win 6/0 , well that was provoking yet it was useful to rise the spirits of the Jordanians who are a very proud people , and yet polite even to respond to those insane statements , how ever the respond was in the field not in front of TV cameras and press , now about the laser stuff , that is so weak justification for a solid fact , Jordan team was way better in all aspects in and out side the field , i hope that can be a useful lesson to respect the others and to try to keep our mouth shot instead of falling in the trap of statements which are based only on thin air and wild imaginations and very sick mind and lake of understanding of the others culture and misleading even my own team and a respectable nation like japan ……

  • J

    The green laser aimed at Japan’s players is an example of poor manners by Jordan’s fans. Bad sportsmanship.

  • Japanese are unhappy with laser beams, this is a fake objection to cover their defeat and conquer. they must admit Jordan deserved it . Japanese coach thought Jordanians are transit station as Australian Coach thought that too, in fact Jordan was a stun for both Japan and Australia. :)

    • Mate laser beams can be dangerous – google it. Planes have crash due to a pilot getting one shone in his eyes.

  • Harmel Guram

    The cut-throat gestures made by the Jordanian players is disgraceful and sadly diminishes the positive fact that they were able to defeat a powerful soccer team. The players need an education in manners.