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Australia coach Frank Farina
"We didn't take the chances we had"
 real 14k

BBC Sport's Martin Fookes
"It's hard to think of an international match played in such appalling conditions"
 real 14k

Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 10:09 GMT 11:09 UK
Nakata knocks Australia out
Hidetoshi Nakata in amongst the Australian defenders
Nakata struck to send Japan through
Japan 1-0 Australia

Hidetoshi Nakata hit a superb free-kick to put Japan into the final of the Confederations Cup after victory over Australia.

The co-hosts of the tournament coped with the elements, in a torrential downpour, and with the loss of Takayuki Suzuki, who was sent off.

The Socceroos may feel unlucky to be ou of the competition, but failed to convert a host of chances, with striker Zdrilic guilty of some slack finishing.

But Japan goalkeeper Kawaguchi deserved to end the match on the winning side after he produced a fine display.

  Key moments
43 mins: Hidetoshi Nakata's free-kick puts Japan in the lead
55 mins: Japan reduced to ten men after Suzuki is sent off
88 mins: Craig Moore is sent off

He denied the Australian attack on numerous occasions and one particular stop from a powerful drive from Corica was outstanding.

Conditions were horrendous in Yokohoma as storm clouds, which had gathered above the stadium ahead of the match, proved not to be an empty threat.

With visibility greatly reduced, and the turf incredibly slippery, a lack of cohesive play was inevitable.

Few chances were created in the first 45 minutes, with Australia looking more likely to score - but only from long-range shots which peppered the Japan goal.


But instead, it was Japan who took the lead as Nakata struck a fizzing free-kick from distance.

Australian defender Kevin Muscat was on the goal-line but could only help the ball into the roof of the net.

Earlier, Stan Lazaridis had a free header at the far post but powered it wide of the target.

He should have scored his first international goal in a nine-year career.

Japan found themselves up against it in the second-half after Suzuki, the two-goal hero in Japan's victory over Cameroon, was sent off after an elbow on Popovic.

With 35 minutes left to play, Australia must have fancied their chances of at least drawing level.

But the Japan defence, which had looked shaky, tightened up and Australia were finding it difficult to carve open a goal-scoring opportunity.

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer nearly made the Australian task more difficult as he, comically, almost punched a corner into his own net.

Australia introduced Aloisi and Scerjovski, but their attack still lacked potency.

And in fact Japan created the best two chances of the second-half, but Nakata and then substitute Morishima failed to double their lead.

Morishima's lack of composure nearly cost his side, as Archie Thompson almost scored immediately after but headed off-target when unchallenged in the box.

Rangers star Craig Moore was also shown the red card after two rash challenges in the space of five minutes.

Japan: Kawaguchi, Matsuda, Morioka, Inamoto, Hidetoshi Nakata, Nishizawa, Koji Nakata, Toda, Hato, Ono, Suzuki. Subs: Uemura, Hattori, Morishima, Miura, Nakayama, Narazaki, Yamashita, Ito, Fujita, Myojin, Kubo, Tsuzuki.

Australia: Schwarzer, Muscat, Moore, Okon, Tony Vidmar, Popovic, Lazaridis, Zdrilic, Bresciano, Corica, Chipperfield. Subs: Aloisi, Emerton, Bolton, Murphy, Foxe, Horvat, Aureilo Vidmar, Thompson, Scerjovski, Juric.

Referee: Benito Archundia (Mexico)

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