Japan defeats Denmark to reach knockout stage

 

 
 
 
 

Rustenburg, South Africa (Sports Network) - Japan booked its ticket to the FIFA World Cup knockout round with a 3-1 win over Denmark at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Thursday.

Keisuke Honda and Yasuhito Endo scored first-half free-kick goals to propel the Japanese to a round-of-16 match against Group F winner Paraguay on Tuesday. With the win, Japan earned Group E's runner-up spot behind the Netherlands, which earned a 2-1 win over Cameroon in the other Group E match on Thursday. Cameroon and Denmark are now officially eliminated.

The Japanese, who carried the majority of the possession throughout the game, got the game's first goal inside 20 minutes when Hondo fired a long-range free kick that he struck perfectly inside the left post, just past the fingertips of goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

Japan doubled the lead at the half-hour mark on another free kick, this one from just outside the penalty area in the middle of the field.

Honda and Endo both line up over the ball, and with Sorensen expecting a Honda right-footed laser, Endo curled a left-footed shot over the wall and in.

The Danes got a second-half penalty-kick goal after Daniel Agger's bit of diving fooled the referee, allowing Jon Dahl Tomasson to score his country's all-time leading 52nd international goal. Tomasson missed the initial shot but converted the rebound.

Japan took all the doubt out of the match in the 88th minute when Shinji Okazaki tapped in from close range after a Honda setup in the Denmark area to close out the scoring.

 
 
 
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