Three games, three wins and no goals conceded. With six Bundesliga players in their starting line-up, Japan entered the Asian Cup this year as one of the favorites and have now made the quarterfinals without conceding a goal. Japan won their last group D game in Melbourne, beating Jordan 2-0. Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa scored in either half to secure the three points. Alongside Kagawa were Bundesliga players Makoto Hasebe, Takashi Inui (both Eintracht Frankfurt), Gotoku Sakai (Stuttgart) and Shinji Okazaki (Mainz). Hannover's Hiroshi Kiyotake was brought on for Inui after 50 minutes. Having topped the group with a maximum points return, Japan now face the United Arab Emirates on Friday.
Quarterfinal sees Iran take on Iraq
On the same Friday, Iran and Iraq will face each other in another quarterfinal. Iraq profited from Jordan's defeat and progressed in second spot in Group D after beating Palestine 2-0 in Canberra. Captain Younis Mahmoud and Ahmed Yasin both got on the scoresheet for Iraq. Palestine exit the competition with no points and a -10 goal difference. Thursday's quarterfinals see South Korea take on Uzbekistan and China play host's Australia. The final will be played on January 31.
jh/apc (dpa, sid)