Trio secure spot in finals

Image: Okazaki: Scored decisive goal

Japan, South Korea and Australia have become the first teams to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Okazaki goal earns Japan win in Uzbekistan as Australia draw

Japan, South Korea and Australia have become the first teams to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 2002 co-hosts Japan and South Korea clinched their places in the finals with wins over Uzbekistan and United Arab Emirates respectively, while Australia drew with Qatar. In Group A, Japan's Shinji Okazaki scored the only goal of the game in Uzbekistan after just nine minutes. Takeshi Okada's side finished the match with 10 men after Makoto Hasebe was sent off a minute from time, but Japan hung on to book their ticket. Australia joined Japan in guaranteeing qualification for the World Cup next year after playing out a 0-0 draw away to Qatar. Uzbekistan's prospects of finishing third in Group A to claim a play-off spot hinge on them winning their final game and hoping Bahrain slip up. In Group B, South Korea made it through to the finals again after scoring twice in the first half to claim a 2-0 win away to UAE. Park Chu-young opened the scoring after just five minutes and Ki Sung-yueng netted on 37 minutes, while UAE had Hilal Saeed sent off in the last minute. North Korea had briefly moved level on points with their neighbours after a 0-0 home draw with Iran. The visitors came closest to scoring in the first half when Fulham midfielder Andranik Teymourian struck the post. North Korea were the stronger team in the second period and Iran keeper Seyed Rehmati had to pull off fine saves to deny Hong Yong-jo and Pak Nam-chol.

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