Oz Overcome Ref to Bury Japan

They waited until the very end, but Gus Hiddink finally pulled the right strings and yanked Australia from disaster with a 3-1 win over weak Japan.

It was shaping up to be a gift to Japan from inept officiating. Several calls were missed, including a crucial non-call when Australian keeper Schwartzer was fouled and Japan scored midway through the first half.

Australia had to beat these minnows if they were to have any chance to get out of the group. They nearly didn’t. The overrated duo of Kewell and Viduka once again displayed their mediocrity, but Hiddink finally put Tim Cahill on the pitch and he was the deciding factor. Even if it took 85 minutes.

Japan certainly didn’t deserve the win, or even a draw in this match. They only took a small handful of shots, and the one that trickled in shouldn’t have counted. So, fair enough. Oz deservedly took the three important points here, but even with Hiddink, who else can they beat?