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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Japan and Iraq reach semi-finals
Japan 1-1 Australia (Japan win 4-3 on pens AET)
Iraq 2-0 Vietnam

Japan defender Yuji Nakazawa scores the winning penalty
Japan defender Yuji Nakazawa scores the winning penalty
Japan won a tense penalty shoot-out 4-3 to beat Australia and reach the Asian Cup semi-finals in Hanoi.

Keeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi was the defending champion's hero, blocking the Socceroos first two spot kicks from Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill.

Former Portsmouth and Coventry striker John Aloisi fired Australia ahead, but Naohiro Takahara equalised soon after as the tie ended 1-1 after extra time.

Australia were reduced to 10 men when Vince Grella was sent off for elbowing.

Japan failed to capitalise despite creating a hatful of chances as the game went to extra-time.


Japan should have finished it and went agonisingly close with Middlesbrough's Mark Schwarzer pulling off a spectacular save in the dying seconds to take the tie to penalties.

Both coaches had been keen to play down the revenge aspect of the game following Australia's 3-1 victory over Japan at the World Cup in Germany, but it was clear the Blue Samurai desperately wanted to win this one.

Iraq reached their second Asian Cup semi-final after beating Vietnam 2-0 in Bangkok.

Vietnam's Austrian coach Alfred Riedl before the game called on his youthful team to play like men and not boys, but they were physically out-matched by the bigger Iraqi players.

Iraq scored from their first attack with Mahmoud doing the damage with a glancing header off a Nashat Akram free kick in only the second minute.

The Iraqis used their aerial supremacy to telling effect in the early exchanges with the Vietnamese defending deep and under pressure.

Impressive midfielder Nashat looked close to scoring twice in the opening half, storming through a couple of tackles to fire wide in the fifth minute and hitting the side-netting in another attack on goal nearing half-time.

The Vietnamese gave their excitable supporters some hope when Nguyen Vu Phong's shot was cleared by substitute Ahmed Abid Ali just before the break.

Abid Ali came on for midfielder Haitham Khadir, who came off second best in a 28th-minute challenge with Phung Cong Minh, who was booked by the referee.

Midfielder Nguyen Vu Phong forced keeper Noor Sabri Abbas to punch clear a dangerous curling free kick shortly after half-time.

But Mahmoud killed off the game with a beautifully-struck free kick in the 66th minute after Karrar Jassim was brought down on the edge of the box.

He curled the ball over the defensive wall and away from the diving keeper Duong Hong Son to put Iraq 2-0 up and cruising to the semi-finals.


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