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World Cup-bound Japan end on flat note with Vietnam draw


Saitama (Japan) (AFP) – Japan drew 1-1 with Vietnam on Tuesday to end their World Cup qualifying campaign on a flat note days after booking their place in Qatar.

The four-time Asian champions fell behind to a 19th-minute goal by Vietnam’s Nguyen Thanh Binh, leaving them trailing at half-time to a team that had taken just three points from nine games in Group B.

Japan captain Maya Yoshida equalised in the 54th minute in Saitama but the home side could not find a winner and had a goal disallowed by the video assistant referee.

Yoshida was guilty of a shocking miss with time ticking down, as Japan came back down to earth after qualifying for their seventh straight World Cup with a dramatic win over Australia in Sydney last week.

Japan and Saudi Arabia had already clinched the two automatic qualification spots in Group B going into the final round of matches, with Australia assured of the playoff place.

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