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Page last updated at 21:19 GMT, Saturday, 6 June 2009 22:19 UK

Netherlands seal World Cup place

The Dutch celebrate Nigel de Jong's goal
Nigel de Jong (left) scored the Netherlands' second goal

The Netherlands, Japan, Australia and South Korea all secured their places at the 2010 World Cup finals on Saturday.

Japan became the first team to join hosts South Africa in the tournament when they beat Uzbekistan 1-0.

A 2-1 victory away to Iceland meant the Dutch were Europe's first qualifiers, while 2002 co-hosts South Korea beat the United Arab Emirates 2-0 in Dubai.

Australia, in the Asia qualifying groups for the first time, earned their place with a 0-0 draw in Qatar.

Goals from Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel helped the Dutch seal their trip to next year's showpiece event.

Kristjan Orn Sigurdsson pulled a goal back for Iceland with two minutes remaining, but Bert van Marwijk's team comfortably secured the victory.

606: DEBATE

Australia, who have two more matches to play in Group A of the final Asian qualifying phase, have 14 points from six matches.

The Socceroos struggled in hot conditions as the Qataris went for broke but they maintained their record of not conceding a goal in the final qualifying phase.

Earlier, Shinji Okazaki headed the early goal which secured Japan's berth at the World Cup for the fourth time in a row.

Makoto Hasebe was sent off for elbowing Uzbek captain Server Djeparov with two minutes remaining but Japan held on.

Japan coach Takeshi Okada said: "We played according to our plan and clinched a very important win.

"I'm very pleased with my players' performance in the match. They played with heart but it was a very well-disciplined performance."

Okada's Uzbeki counterpart Mirjalol Kasymov congratulated Japan and added: "We did all we could do today. We have nothing to reproach ourselves about."

Danny Jordaan, the 2010 organising committee chief in South Africa said: "Japan are a big team - both on and off the field - who have become a major force in world football. We are delighted that they today became the first team to qualify for the 2010 Fifa World Cup."



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see also
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
International football photos
06 Jun 09 |  Football
Kazakhstan 0-4 England
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Azerbaijan 0-1 Wales
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals
World Cup qualifiers as they happened
06 Jun 09 |  Internationals


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