|Japan||1 - 0||Russia|
|(HT: 0 - 0)|
International Stadium Yokohama
Markus Merk (GER)
|1||9 Jun 2002||Ruslan Pimenov||Yellow Card||First Half||13||A|
|2||9 Jun 2002||Tsuneyasu Miyamoto||Yellow Card||First Half||15||H|
|3||9 Jun 2002||Andrei Solomatin||Yellow Card||First Half||38||A|
|4||9 Jun 2002||Koji Nakata||Yellow Card||First Half||42||H|
|5||9 Jun 2002||Ruslan Pimenov||Player Out||Second Half||1||A|
|6||9 Jun 2002||Dmitry Sychyov||Substitute In||Second Half||1||A|
|7||9 Jun 2002||Junichi Inamoto||Goal||Second Half||6||H|
|8||9 Jun 2002||Marat Izmailov||Player Out||Second Half||7||A|
|9||9 Jun 2002||Dmitri Khoklov||Substitute In||Second Half||7||A|
|10||9 Jun 2002||Alexei Smertin||Player Out||Second Half||12||A|
|11||9 Jun 2002||Vladimir Beschastnykh||Substitute In||Second Half||12||A|
|12||9 Jun 2002||Yuri Nikiforov||Yellow Card||Second Half||15||A|
|13||9 Jun 2002||Takayuki Suzuki||Player Out||Second Half||27||H|
|14||9 Jun 2002||Masashi Nakayama||Substitute In||Second Half||27||H|
|15||9 Jun 2002||Shinji Ono||Player Out||Second Half||30||H|
|16||9 Jun 2002||Toshihiro Hattori||Substitute In||Second Half||30||H|
|17||9 Jun 2002||Junichi Inamoto||Player Out||Second Half||40||H|
|18||9 Jun 2002||Takashi Fukunishi||Substitute In||Second Half||40||H|
|19||9 Jun 2002||Masashi Nakayama||Yellow Card||Second Half||46||H|
|Japan powered to the first World Cup win in their history with a deserved 1-0 defeat of Russia in Group H. A second-half goal from English-based midfielder Junichi Inamoto sealed the win for the tournament co-hosts who are now within touching distance of a place in the last 16. Japan top the group with four points from two matches and can book their place in the second phase against Tunisia on Friday, when Russia face Belgium. Victory was met with elation by some 60,000 spectators crammed into the Yokohama Stadium which will host the World Cup final on June 30.
Delighted Japan coach Philippe Troussier praised the spirit shown by his team.
"It was an extraordinary match - we saw a great Japan side tonight, with great players. Our win was deserved," said Troussier, appointed Japan coach after their World Cup debut in 1998 when they lost all three games.
"It is a very important moment for Japanese football. The Japanese people had confidence in us these last four years and we were aware of that.
"We felt it again today. They can have confidence in us for the future.
"With four points we're well-placed to qualify. We must concentrate now," he said. "Everything will be on our last match but with four points we're on our way."
Russia coach Oleg Romantsev refused to be downcast in defeat. "You're never happy with a loss, but the only consolation is that the tournament is still going on," Romantsev said.
"We have a match against Belgium to play and if we win we will go through - so our destiny is still in our hands," Romantsev said.
Japan took the lead six minutes into the second half with a slick attack launched in midfield by Parma star Hidetoshi Nakata. Nakata's ball was met by Feyenoord's Shinji Ono, whose superb first-time pass left Inamoto with the task of hammering a shot into the roof of the net past Russian goalkeeper Ruslan Nigmatullin. Man-of-the-match Inamoto, who has yet to start a game for English champions Arsenal after spending a season on the bench, worked tirelessly throughout, tracking every inch of the Yokohama Stadium with a dynamic display. Russia sought vainly for an equaliser but were unable to break down a resolute Japan defence. Substitute Vladimir Beschastnykh should have levelled the scores soon after Inamoto's goal, rounding Japan keeper Seigo Narazaki easily but somehow contriving to smash his shot into the side netting with the goal at his mercy. Russia also tested Narazaki midway through the second half when Dmitry Sychev let fly with a 30-yard shot which Narazaki needed two attempts to gather. Sychev saw another firm shot well saved by Narazaki in the closing minutes but Japan were not to be denied a famous win. Nakata meanwhile came agonisingly close to doubling Japan's lead with what would have been one of the most spectacular strikes in World Cup history. Picking the ball up deep in midfield, the Serie A-based player advanced on goal and unleashed a blistering drive which flew past Nigmatullin and rattled the bar. It was one of the highlights of an entertaining second half which followed a terrible opening 45 minutes which had been disjointed by 36 freekicks and which saw neither side manage to get a shot on target. Japan came closest to breaking the stalemate on 28 minutes, when good work down the left flank by Takayuki Suzuki ended with Nakata smashing a shot over the bar from ten yards out. For Russia, Marat Izmailov had alarm bells ringing in the Japanese defence after 15 minutes, when a shot from just outside the area flew inches wide. Before that Russia had announced their presence with several full-blooded challenges on Japan's players, Nakata and Naoki Matsuda both on the receiving end.
A late tackle on fullback Matsuda earned Ruslan Pimenov the first of four bookings awarded by German referee Markus Merk. Japan saw skipper Tsuneyasu Miyamoto - playing in a striking black face mask to protect a broken nose - and Koji Nakata also get booked while Andrei Solomatin was Russia's other player to see yellow.
(courtesy of dailysoccer)
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Page created by Christakis Ioannou on 9 June 2002 22:23:43.