GOAL! Japan 1-0 Australia
40 mins: Asano with the opener – he was in acres of space in the box, poor defending, and slides it home past Ryan.
39 mins: Yet another corner for Japan. Can they create something for once? No, it fails to beat the first man… but the resulting scramble raises a few heartbeats before it’s eventually cleared. Japan finishing with a flourish.
37 mins: The Socceroos take a breath to pass it around the back four. They wouldn’t have been able to do that earlier, the Japanese would have been pressing them – not sure if they’ve stepped off deliberately or whether they’re just conserving energy. Either way it’s working in the Socceroos favour… and, oof, a deflection from a Leckie shot hits the outside of the post. As close as anyone’s come.
35 mins: Asano with a header at the back post, but he can’t get over it and it flies high and wide off the top of his head. A couple of half-chances but still nothing to trouble Ryan too much.
33 mins: Australia seeing a little more of the Japanese box as the half goes on… still nothing clear cut though. Sakai runs up the other end, connects with a pull-back – then skews it well wide. Sums up their half really.
30 mins: Another through-ball cut out by Spiranovic (I think it was him anyway) – that would have been very dangerous had it gone through. For all the huff and puff there’s been very little goalmouth action, certainly no chances that should have been put away.
27 mins: Rogic threatens the Japan box but is immediately swarmed by about three players and can’t get the ball out from under his feet in time. Great defensive work even if it does have a whiff of panic about it. Still not a bad spell from the Socceroos – finally getting their foot on the ball…